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Metaldehyde Poisoning in Dogs and Cats
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
First Aid, Emergencies, & Poisons
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Snail, slug, or rat poison, or ingestion of a poisoned snail, slug, or rat. Metaldehyde may also be present in fuels used in small heaters.

General Information
Symptoms tend to start showing within 15 minutes to 3 hours of ingestion, as the metaldehyde is metabolized to acetaldehyde. The precise mechanism of toxicity is unknown. Check the ingredient list of the suspected toxin to determine if other toxins are also in the product; some may contain organocarbamate.

Toxic Dose
Dogs: 45 mg per pound of body weight.

Cats: Suspected to also be 45 mg per pound of body weight.

Anxiety, hyperesthesia, ataxia, muscle tremors, nystagmus especially in cats, dilated pupils, panting, drooling, seizures, hyperthermia, respiratory failure, and death. The pet may survive the early stages of the poisoning and then succumb to complications such as organ failure in the next 3-5 days.

Immediate Action
Give milk and induce vomiting. Seek veterinary attention.

Veterinary Care
General treatment: Milk will continue to be given, vomiting is induced, gastric lavage using milk will be performed, and activated charcoal administered. The milk helps decrease the absorption of the metaldehyde.

Supportive treatment: IV fluids are administered, the animal's temperature is monitored, and observation and treating for seizures is recommended.

Specific treatment: Unavailable.

Fair to guarded.


Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.

If you think your pet has been poisoned...

Contact your veterinarian or one of the Animal Poison Hotlines (listed below) if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication.

**ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). $65.00 per case, billed to caller's credit card.

Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973.

There is no charge when the call involves a product covered by the Animal Product Safety Service.

**Pet Poison Helpline - 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

1-800-213-6680 ($35.00 per incident). Staffed 24-hours a day.

Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at Pet Supplies  
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