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Some dogs are real explorers; they can crack open a cupboard and chew through plastic when it comes to something that resembles food. Unfortunately, snail bait is attractive not only to the snails but your dog as well. Snail bait often has molasses, apples and bran added which makes it more appealing. Even if you use slug formulations in a liquid or granular form, the product can get on your dog’s paws to be licked off and ingested. It takes very little of the methiocarb to produce a toxic reaction in your dog friend.
Methiocarb is found in some snail baits and is highly toxic to your dog. The toxin can be fast acting, and your dog needs veterinarian intervention quickly.
Without immediate attention from your veterinarian, death can occur. Time is of the essence for your dog.
Treatment success depends on the length of time elapsed in getting your dog to your veterinarian for treatment. There are two distinct poisonous substances used in slug and snail pellets.
The rapid onset of symptoms can be upsetting, but waiting to see how badly your dog is affected may cost your dog his life. The fast acting methiocarb can attack the nervous system; the earlier the treatment can be administered the more positive the prognosis for recovery. Methiocarb can mimic disease symptoms, so it is important to let your veterinarian know what is affecting your dog. Knowing the cause will reduce the need for extensive testing which means treatment can begin immediately. If you have taken in the packet of the slug bait, the veterinarian will know what compounds are involved.
Your veterinarian will check your dog physically to see how he is being affected. After that, some diagnostic tests will be carried out. A blood count will provide a picture of your pet’s overall health, and the specialist will look for signs of inflammation, anemia or low platelet count. He may also do an arterial blood gas analysis to see how the acid-base status in the blood has changed especially after repeated seizures. Then treatment will begin, and your dog will be hospitalised to enable effective monitoring and supportive care for your friend, as well as further treatments needed.
While there is no antidote as such, treatments will involve counteracting the toxic and eliminate it from your pet’s system. It may take up to 72 hours before your dog’s health can be given clearance. Administering atropine can help arrest the methiocarb, but it all depends on the length of time between when your dog ate the pellets and when your pet receives treatment. Your canine friend will be administered medication to promote vomiting, and his stomach will be pumped to remove as much of the toxin as possible. If your dog’s temperature is at a dangerous level a cool water bath will be given to help lower it.
Diazepam (Valium) will help your dog relax and address anxiety, seizures and muscle tremors. Your dog may need an endotracheal tube (plastic tube in his windpipe) which will enable artificial respiration should your pet stop breathing. Fluids will be given via intravenous methods to correct dehydration. Other procedures your veterinarian may try is to use activated charcoal to absorb the toxins in your dog’s system. If the toxin has passed into the intestines, your dog doctor will give your dog enemas to try and flush the poison out.
Your veterinarian will advise you on the home care treatment required. It is important that you follow his directions and if medication is advised that you finish the course. While it would be nice to think your dog would have learned from this episode, that will not happen. They are naturally curious animals so keep everything locked up (some dogs can open doors so lock them) and out of their way. Perhaps you could use another pet-friendly product to rid your garden from slugs and snails, something that will not hurt your dog. Prevention is always best when managing pets. And because dogs are so resourceful, you have to keep one step ahead of them to keep them out of trouble.
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