puppies and slugs and poison. oh my!

Being (crazy?) pet owners, Dave and I have always made sure that we are on the same page about care for our little ones. Lots of people like to scoff at the amount of money that some people put into their animals and it’s true that there is such thing as overkill when it comes to certain things. In the end, however, we have come to the conclusion that if we have made a commitment to taking in these animals, we would do our best to keep them well. That sometimes means big vet bills.
Monday night Dave took Minnie out to go to the bathroom–and it was lucky that he went out with her. Normally I just open the door and let her go (especially in winter weather). He saw her obsessing in one area of the lawn and saw that it was a big pile of dead snails and slugs. He took her away from it right away and brought her in. He was upset about it, only because he thought they were rotting (he noted a bad smell) and that our landlady (who had been doing gardening all day) should have cleaned them up. I, on the other hand, had experience with one of my dogs as a kid eating slug bait and knew that this could potentially be a bad thing.
At first we didn’t notice anything except that Minnie stunk from whatever she ate. Then she started going crazy – and if you’ve ever met Minnie, you might think “But she’s always crazy!” But no…this was out of control-cross-eyed-tongue-hanging-out-not settling down crazy. Finally I held her to try and calm her and noticed her head bobbing in a weird way. She started to make sounds like she was going to puke, so we put her in the kitchen and that’s when we realized that we had to do something. She started shaking uncontrollably and was jumpy every time we tried to get near her. We called our landlady to ask if she had used slug bait, which she denied ever recently having anything to do with slug bait, and started blaming our neighbours saying they must have thrown it into our yard.
We rushed Minnie to the emergency vet (Dr. Burton in Bradner is my new hero). He confirmed that it was indeed slug bait poisoning, and that there is no antidote, and it was too late to pump her stomach (even though it had been only 1.5 hours). At this point her temperature was extremely high, her heart rate was crazy and she was drooling. His prognosis was very grim, and we left feeling almost positive that Minnie would be no more very soon. He told us to call back in an hour to see where we would be going with treatment.
One painfully long hour later we called and he informed us that Minnie had been stabilized to the point where she wasn’t shaking uncontrollably anymore. He had her on an IV and wanted to watch her through the night. We agreed.
The next morning (after not sleeping at all) we were informed that Minnie was bright and alert. Huzzah! Dr. Burton wanted to keep her on the IV for the afternoon to make sure that everything was out of her system.
When we picked her up that evening, Dr Burton expressed how lucky we were that she was alive. Small amounts of slug bait is fatal to animals, and he assumed that when we brought her in she was only going to get worse. By some crazy miracle, however, our little pug-pug is fine!
This brings me back to what I was mentioning before about vet bills. Dave and I have always agreed that if there is a situation where our animals life will be saved and there will be many years of health afterwards, taking our animals to be treated properly by a vet is worth the bill. If, however, it only prolongs the life a few months…the sad reality is that paying hundreds…thousands…it can’t ever be worth it.
We went into this knowing that there was a good chance our landlady would not take responsibility for her actions (she had already denied it once) but we also knew that there was no way we could just sit and let Minnie die because of a vet bill.
Thankfully…our landlady’s husband (who is only home about 2 days a month due to his job) happened to be home when this happened. So after getting Minnie home, Dave went to talk to him. ┬áSo Dave went straight to her husband and found out that they do indeed use slug bait, and keep it in tins hanging in their grapevines. Every spring they dump out the tins at the base of the vines and refill them, which our landlady had done that very day. He took full responsibility, was very reasonable and agreed to pay the bill.
In the end, we are just glad that Minnie fared well and is back to her silly little self. *huge sigh of relief*

PS: Here’s a little lesson in all of this: Slug bait does not dilute over time. Dumping out old slug bait is still dumping out slug bait. The vet told us that he hates slug bait and can’t understand why anyone even uses it anymore. It’s so dangerous.

(phew! that was a long post.)

One Response to “puppies and slugs and poison. oh my!”

  • Kitty Says:

    Oh boy, I am so glad your little pup is ok! I agree, if you decide to take care of an animal, it’s your responsibility to give it the best care you can. I can imagine the scare you had, we had a similar episode with my cat who stopped breathing. She is fine now and I’m so glad we paid for her special oxygen therapy that saved her life. The little critters are worth it!

    Your landlord sounds like… yeahhhh. Maybe time to move :(

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