Mimi, a tan Chihuahua, is a picture of health just a day after she was unable to even stand. Fresno veterinarian Chris Dobbins said "We were able to decontaminate her with some activated charcoal to help absolve some the poison that was in her intestines and stomach." Shane, a dachshund, still looks a bit shaky after eating snail pellets but is expected to be okay.
Tuesday night Dr. Dobbins and his staff treated seven dogs for snail bait poisoning. Dobbins said "Out of those seven we lost one early this morning and that one was brought in comatose."
Homeowners around the valley have been spreading snail bait around the landscape to protect their plants. The bait is very effective but many people don't realize the dangers some poisons pose to their pets. Dobbins said "Unfortunately the size of the pelleted material looks very close to treats we feed to our animals - small kibble."
Dr. Dobbins says dogs are more likely than cats to eat snail bait. If they ingest the poison, they may become agitated and begin panting and salivating. Dobbins said "As more of its absorbed they start having tremors. It could actually lead to full-on convulsions and unfortunately they become comatose."
Snail bait comes in different forms, from pellets to granules to liquid. If you have pets avoid snail bait which includes metaldehyde. Instead, look for products like "Sluggo," which is safe for use around dogs and cats. Manny Reyes of Fresno Ag Hardware said "A lot of the stuff in some of these is iron phospate, which is good to kill snails and it's also good for the surrounding ground. It puts alot back into the ground and it's good for the plants. And doesn't harm the pets? Doesn't harm the pets. "
For your pet's sake, don't just grab the cheapest snail bait you see. Some people use other methods to control snails such as containers filled with beer, salt and even copper strips.