A spate of very sick dogs poisoned by slug pellets has lead veterinary specialist referral hospital VSG to issue a warning around the safe keeping of slug pellets and other harmful items that dogs might find appealing.
“We’ve had two dogs in in the last week that were extremely unwell” says Dr. Mark Robson, founding partner of Veterinary Specialist Group in Auckland. “It’s the time of year when people start to think about their gardens so this is a common occurrence unfortunately” he says.
According to Dr. Robson dogs will roam and be attracted to poisons such as slug bait over a long distance. “Keeping your dog on your property is the only way to stay safe” he admits “but the use of home-made or commercial dog-safe slug bait containers is a great way to decrease that risk”.
If you suspect your dog has ingested slug pellet bait, it is important you seek veterinary advice immediately. “Get to a vet clinic as fast as you possibly can” Dr. Robson suggests. “Your dog may look shaky and restless and be acting really strangely” he says. “This will then progress to uncontrollable whole-body tremors and then to seizures which will start within 20 – 90 minutes of the dog eating the bait”.
Most cases can usually be rescued however it is much harder once the dog starts to have fits. Serious cases may need a specialist 24-hour care facility such as the one Veterinary Specialist Group provides in order to recover completely.
“There are plenty of other common items that are very harmful to dogs” says Dr. Robson. “Toxicities we see often are human medicines (especially painkillers), anti-freeze, marijuana and grapes & raisins which can cause an unpredictable kidney toxicity”.
“Whatever happens, if you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic or poisonous, seek medical attention immediately” he says.