Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Slug Bait Poisoning

Rachel Griffith, BVSc

We far too commonly see cases of “slug-bait” or metaldehyde poisoning. A lot of people are not aware what this toxin will do to their pet and unfortunately wait until symptoms appear before contacting the veterinarian. It is of upmost importance that we treat metaldehyde poisonings as soon as possible in order to achieve the best outcome for the patient (unfortunately not all patients will survive this, despite aggressive therapy).

Symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning commence with your pet looking restless, they may also start drooling. The animal will then develop muscle tremors which will proceed to uncontrolled seizures. If left untreated these seizures will result in death.

If you know that your pet has ingested “slug-bait” of any kind – contact your vet immediately.

Preventing this toxicity is far better than trying to treat the severe symptoms associated with it. If you know your pet has eaten “slug-bait” call your vet as soon as possible.  If they have not started displaying signs of toxicity and it is still within several hours of ingestion then your pet will be made to vomit which will rid the body of as much bait as possible. Metaldehyde is absorbed very quickly so even with ridding the stomach by vomiting, symptoms may develop and the vet will likely want to keep an eye on your pet over the next several hours. If symptoms have already started appearing, the vet will treat your pet with all or some of the following: emergency stabilization, active cooling, intravenous fluid therapy, appropriate anti-seizure medication, intravenous fluid therapy, and decontamination which may include stomach lavage and/or repeated enemas. The aim of treatment is to control the seizures and treat the life threatening effects of these whilst trying to rid the body of any remaining toxin.

There are alternatives to using “slug-bait” on your property and we recommend if you have pets or children that you seek these out. Egg shells, coffee grounds, copper tape and iron based baits have all been suggested as natural alternatives. It should be noted that whilst these are far safer than metaldehyde, ingestion of these substances can still result in complications so care should be taken to avoid accidental ingestion.

Please spread the word about how dreadful metaldehyde toxicity is, it is unlike most other common toxins found around the household in that death can occur within hours of ingesting the poison. Time is of the essence in treating a patient that has ingested “slug-bait”.


Pet Insurance

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: Many people know the importance of insuring their items, their house or car, even their own health. Fortunately we are also able to insure pets, for not only medical and surgical care but in some cases routine visits can be covered (including vaccinations and wellness checks/blood tests).


Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. Fleas not only cause skin problems for dogs and us but can also cause other disease such as anaemia, flea allergy dermatitis and tapeworms.

Healthy Teeth

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: Dogs, like us, have two sets of teeth during their lives. The deciduous (baby) teeth appear shortly after birth and are replaced by the permanents at around four to six months of age. Deciduous teeth cause few problems except where they are retained beyond about eight months of age. If this occurs, displacement of the erupting permanents may result.

Have you got an itchy dog?

Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: During the spring and summer months we see high numbers of dogs with itchy skin.In the past, the only way to manage atopy (itchy skin) was through medications such as steroids and antihistamines but Royal Canin nutritionists and veterinarians have developed a new Prescription Diet specially formulated to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs.


Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. The adult fleas you see on your dog only represent 5% of the whole flea population. Flea problems can appear to come and go. This is because the immature stages of the flea (eggs, pupae) wait in the environment for the right conditions (Warmth, humidity and stimulation) When this happens they tend to hatch all at once onto the unsuspecting animal.


Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: Ticks live in areas of long grass and dense shrubs. They wait for animals to come along, and then grab onto their fur. Once on the animal, they find areas of thin skin and attach with cement-like saliva to feed on blood.

Toe Nail Injuries

Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: A break in the toe nail or dewclaw causes a cracked nail with an exposed nail bed. This can be extremely painful. If left untreated, nail infections can spread up to the joint of the toe and can lead to irreparable damage such that the toe itself has to be amputated.

Constipation Issues

Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: Constipation is an obstruction of the colon with difficulty to pass faeces or the inability to defaecate at all. Clinical signs are:

- Straining to defaecate
- Defaecating small amounts of dry hard firm stool
- Straining with small amounts of liquid stool
- Occasional vomiting
- Not wanting to eat
- Depression / Lethargy

Heat Stroke

Read more >Thursday 30th of August 2018: Heat stroke can be an extremely deadly emergency.

We see it mainly in summer but it can occur at any time.

During hot summer days, start work early if you can. Try to avoid the main hottest parts of the day. If you have large work days, alternate your team, so dogs get a good chance to rest.


Read more >Friday 27th of July 2018:

Equine Annual Warrant of Fitness

Read more >Friday 27th of July 2018: With the equestrian season kicking off in most disciplines, Spring is a good time for your horse to have its annual “warrant of fitness”.


Read more >Wednesday 25th of July 2018: We have had a couple of interesting cases over the last few months where our Vets have been able to use the endoscope to help diagnose and address issues.

The endoscope is a flexible camera/video /light source that we can use to help investigate respiratory tract in horses as they allow us to gain access visually to some of the nooks and cranny’s that make up a horses upper and lower respiratory tract.

Arthritis, not just an old dog problem

Read more >Thursday 29th of March 2018: Arthritis will be in almost all our working dogs by the age of 5. The severity depends on breeding and size of the breed, previous injuries, nutrition and how well they have been looked after.

Medical Management of Arthritis

Read more >Thursday 29th of March 2018: To get the most out of your team, ensure you take measures to keep them comfortable.

Rat Bait

Read more >Thursday 29th of March 2018: Rat bait (rodenticide) poisoning is the most common poisoning we see in the clinic. It generally affects dogs as they are more readily ruled by their stomachs! Rat baits work by preventing the production of clotting factors (anticoagulants). This lack of clotting factors causes prolonged and uncontrolled bleeding which is often fatal if untreated.

Feeding Athletes

Read more >Thursday 29th of March 2018:


Read more >Thursday 8th of March 2018: The transportation of horse to events in NZ [such as HOY] is commonplace but in saying that it needs to be managed to maximise athletic performance, and minimise the risk of any negative impact on horse health. After all it is a long expensive and disappointing trip to an event to have your horse perform below their best.

Road transport can be detrimental to horse's lungs, muscles, gut function and weight


Read more >Thursday 8th of March 2018: Alfie is a 22 year old Kaimanawa gelding who had the misfortune of getting the wrong end of a stick during a wind-storm.

He presented with acute right eye pain – eyelids tightly closed with profuse tearing.

Attention all rabbit owners – are your rabbits up to date with their vaccination??

Read more >Friday 2nd of March 2018:

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