Vet warns dog owners on snail bait

Gardening weather brings problem to fore

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012
 Veterinarian Nurse Sarah Fuller at the After Hours Veterinary Hospital where dogs which have eaten snail bait are treated.
BEN CURRAN/Fairfax NZ

PET HAZARD: Veterinarian Nurse Sarah Fuller at the After Hours Veterinary Hospital where dogs which have eaten snail bait are treated.

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A Waikato vet is pleading for dog owners to be careful with snail bait as four dogs were poisoned over the weekend.

Sarah Fuller from the Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital said the warmer weather had people reaching for the snail pellets and four dogs were brought in after eating the poison.

"One was dead within three hours of eating it and one just about died," she said.

"Another dog ate a one kilogram packet of snail bait and sadly its owner waited eight hours before bringing their dog in, despite it having seizures all that time. It will be lucky to survive."

The warm weather over the weekend was in part to blame, she said.

"It's been nice and sunny and warm and everyone has been outside and in their gardens, putting in new vegetables.

"But that has everyone reaching for the pellets to keep the snails away and that is deadly for dogs."

The dogs found the taste "yummy" she said.

"Of the four this weekend, one dog got into the garden shed, which was left open, and two waited until their owners had finished spreading the pellets and left the box on the back steps while they went inside to wash their hands before grabbing it and eating it."

Putting the snail bait high up on a shelf was not enough to keep your pooch safe, she said.

"Dogs like jack russells can jump quite high, and I've seen one jump on top of a fridge in a shed and onto a shelf to get at the snail pellets."

Gardeners should instead use salt, or a dog-friendly snail bait called Quash to keep their pets safe, she said.

"And if you have to use snail bait, then fence off your garden.

"To have a dog poisoned by this stuff is extremely distressing for dog owners and of course the dog.

"Once ingested the dog will start to tremor and convulse. And sadly there is no cure for it, all you can do it monitor symptoms. It's really nasty stuff."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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