Snail bait is a common toxicosis of small animals as the products are cereal based and highly palatable to dogs. There are two commonly used snail baits, metaldehyde (green pellets) and carbamate (blue pellets) and although they are different in colour they have similar clinical signs and forms of treatment.
If you have seen or suspect that your pet has eaten some snail bait you should immediately seek veterinarian advice. However, some dogs can not be supervised at all times and therefore should be checked for the following clinical signs on a regular basis:
- Excessive panting
- Muscle tremors that will progress to severe muscle tremors
- Ataxia (unsteadiness, dragging feet etc.)
- Increased gut motility
- Respiratory failure
- General seizures
- Dilated pupils
- Constricted pupils
- Severe diarrhoea
Louie lives to see another day
Like most beagles, Louie likes to sniff out a snack between mealtimes, which he often gets away with. That was until he discovered his owner's snail bait recently.
Louie was brought into our Clare vet clinic late one afternoon, after his owners discovered him frothing at the mouth and suffering from muscle tremors. While he was fine that morning, his owners returned home in the afternoon to find a very sick Louie.
Their quick action thankfully saved his life and he was discharged after only one night in hospital.
The moral of the story? Snail bait should be kept under lock and key, especially if you own a beagle! Louie's parents had done the right thing and stored their snail bait on a high shelf in a garden cupboard. However, an open cupboard door and some beagle ingenuity was all it took for Louie to get to his poisonous prize.