We tend to see a peak in enquiries about slug baits in June. There are 3 main ingredients in slug baits: Metaldehyde, Ferric phosphate and Methiocarb.
Metaldehyde causes rapid onset tremors, muscle twitching and prolonged seizures. Treatment is supportive with the focus on controlling seizures and preventing complications from prolonged seizure-activity. The sale of Metaldehyde was due to be banned from Spring 2020 but unfortunately this ban was overturned and it is still very commonly used.
Methiocarb, is a carbamate and causes rapid onset signs with diarrhoea, bronchial hyper-secretion, constricted pupils, vomiting, twitching, tremors and in severe cases, bradycardia (slow heart rate), seizures, respiratory depression and coma.
Ferric phosphate is a relatively insoluble iron salt and is available in slug baits in 1% (amateur products) and 3% (professional products). The remainder comprises filler such as bran and wheat. As a result iron poisoning is not common from ingestion of ferric phosphate slug baits but gastrointestinal signs occur.
Pets only need to ingest a small amount of some types of slug bait (particularly Metaldehyde) to cause toxicity and because of the rapid onset of symptoms in these cases, prompt action is essential. If you are concerned that your pet has ingested slug bait, owners can call our Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509 000. Vets can call us for treatment advice on 02073 055 055.