Snail and Slug Bait
As with rat poison, many people who use snail bait are mostly unaware that their pets might find it tasty and secondly, that it can kill them. Snail bait (most commonly used snail bait’s drug name is Metaldehyde) is commonly placed in flower beds to kill snails that try to eat vegetables and flowers. The snails consume the poison and it kills them instead.
In some parts of the world, accidental poisoning of pets with snail bait is the most common poisoning seen in dogs. The worst case I have seen, and one which was fatal, was when a dog got into the packet of snail bait and ate half the box. He died the next day.The frustration gardeners feel when their new seedlings are destroyed at night is very real. This article deals with the reality of the safety of certain snail and slug baits and what happens if your pet eats them – which they do!!! It also gives other alternatives to using dangerous products and natural ways to control snails and slugs.
Common snail and slug baits containing Metaldehyde include: “Cory’s Slug and Snail Death,” “Deadline,” and “Slug-Tox.” They are sold as granules, sprays, dusts, pelleted grain or bait and applied to the ground around plants or crops, to attract and kill slugs and snails.
Symptoms of Metaldehyde Toxicity:
Twitching followed by seizures
Fever cause by the ongoing seizures
Liver Failure 2-3 days later if the animal survives the seizure period
Unfortunately there is no antidote and treatment is aimed at reducing the amount of poison in the animal’s body and controlling the seizures and liver failure.
Intravenous fluids to flush the poison out
Activated charcoal orally to draw the poison out of the intestine or by stomach tube
Methocarbamol and Valium to control twitches.
Barbiturate anesthesia or sedation to control to seizures.
Liver support including antibiotics, ursodeoxycholic acid, vitamin B based supplements.
It is not advised to make twitching or seizing animals vomit as they can breathe in stomach contents at the same time if they seizure while vomiting.
Whether or not an animal will recover depends on how much poison was taken in, and how quickly treatment was initiated, and also on the general health of the pet.
Stomach tubing and flushing out the stomach to remove any excess poison and add activated charcoal to the stomach contents. This can only be done if the animal is fully anesthetized.
Some snail baits contain this poison which may be combined with the metaldehyde. Methiocarb is a carbamate poison and affects nerve endings throughout the body, affecting nerve transmission.
Symptoms of Poisoning:
Pin Prick Pupils
Difficulty in breathing
Drip intravenous fluids
Activated charcoal orally
Diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) to control twitching
Atropine intravenously to effect and repeated as often as necessary.
Alternatives to Snail and Slug Bait
Iron phosphate based snail baits are far less toxic to pets and children than Metaldehyde based snail baits. Iron phosphate can be found in products such as “Sluggo,” “Escar-Go!” and “Worry Free” slug and snail bait.
Hand Picking: Physically picking up the snails and killing them or throwing them into the garbage does work if you do it industriously.
Traps for snails: Use
- A flat board
- Inverted cabbage leaves
- Inverted orange, grapefruit, or citrus rinds
- You can also use an inverted flower pot (prop one edge up slightly).
Lay these out overnight and the snails will be found inside them in the morning and you can throw them away.
Put out a deep container of beer or a mix of honey and yeast in water to attract them as they love this. Bury this container in the soil and they will fall in and drown in the mixture.
Get a tinfoil pie container and cut little “doors” into it. Put some dog pellets inside underneath and turn the container over. The snails will eat the dog food and sleep inside the tinfoil container where you can find them and throw them away in the morning.
Eggshells broken and scattered round your young plants hemp to keep snails and slugs away as they don’t like crawling over them.
Snails hate copper – large copper strips or copper tape will deter them going to an area.
They also won’t crawl over sandpaper.
Get a duck – they love eating snails. Some small dogs also eat snails on a regular basis.
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