Ingesting snail bait poison can cause an animal’s death in less than 24 hours, said Janan Abed, DVM, an emergency/critical care resident at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego. Less severe cases can cause liver damage within two to three days of ingestion. For your pet’s best chance at a full recovery, immediate veterinary care is needed after exposure.
Signs of snail bait poisoning include depression, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, elevated temperature, increased respiratory rate and increased sensitivity to stimuli.
If you think your pet has been exposed to poisonous snail bait, Abed said to contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not attempt to induce vomiting at home. Your vet will most likely diagnose your pet through a physical examination because blood, urine, and liver tests prove to be too expensive and time consuming. Veterinarian treatment will include inducing vomiting, activated charcoal taken orally to bind any toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, colonic enemas, muscle relaxants, and hospitalization with intravenous fluid therapy for 24 to 48 hours. Blood work may also be necessary.
Traditional snail bait contains a chemical called metaldehyde, which is poisonous to dogs and cats. Snail bait goes by many names, some of which are “Slug Pellets,” “Buggetta,” “Snarol,” “Slugit,” “Deadline,” “Metason,” “Halizan,” and “Snail Tox.” It comes in the form of granules, liquids, powders, and pellets. Snail bait releases the active ingredient (metaldehyde) for up to 10 days in relatively moist conditions.
Don’t worry, there are ways to avoid this painful and expensive ordeal for your pet and keep your garden looking beautiful too! Here are a few safe deterrents and remedies to keep snails away from your plants.
• Buy snail bait specially formulated to be used around pets and children. Their usual active ingredient is iron phosphate. You can find these pest control products at your local nursery. Be sure to follow instructions carefully for optimum results.
• Create a “beer bath.” Find a pie pan that is about two to five centimeters deep. Place it in the ground near plants that are susceptible to snails and fill the pan with beer. The next day dump the old beer and dead snails. Repeat as often as necessary.
• Sawdust, eggshells, and copper can also be used as a snail deterrent. Create a border with your material of choice around your garden bed and snails will not pass through. Use one of the above mentioned methods first, then create a border to keep the snails away from your garden for good.