Slug bait toxicity
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have a lot rain and therefore, a lot of slugs. Slug bait is an extreme danger for our canine friends. Slug bait's main ingredient, metaldehyde, is a life threatening toxin for dogs. There is often molasses added to attract the snails and slugs to the bait, which also attracts dogs, and less commonly cats or other mammals.
Metaldehyde is a toxin of the neurologic system and can cause symptoms and signs of vomiting, high heart rate and respiratory rate, increased body temperature, muscle tremors, wobbly gait and seizures. It may also result in liver failure. If not treated appropriately, death may occur. Signs may develop within minutes to hours of ingestion depending on the amount consumed.
If you suspect your pet has ingested slug bait, take it immediately to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic. If the ingestion has occurred within 30 minutes, vomiting may be induced followed by activated charcoal to reduce absorption by the GI tract. If it has been longer, then clinical signs will be treated to try to minimize clinical signs and effects of the toxin. Intravenous fluids, muscle relaxants, anti-seizure medications, and other supportive care measures will be until the toxin can be removed from the body via metabolism, which can take up to 3 days in some cases.
It is best to prevent exposure, so if you or your neighbor is using slug bait, try to use one of the less toxic versions and be sure to keep it stored out of reach of all pets. If it is placed in the garden, do not allow pets in the area
Wilsonville Veterinary Clinic
9275 S.W. Barber St, Wilsonville, OR 97070