We tend to see a peak in enquiries about slug baits during the summer months.  The most common ingredient in slug bait is ferric phosphate, but we do also receive enquiries regarding metaldehyde and methiocarb-based products.

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.

As of April 1st 2022, metaldehyde was banned in the United Kingdom due to the risk that it poses to wildlife and the environment.  Despite this ban, many owners still have domestic products containing it in their homes that were purchased before the ban was implemented.  Metaldehyde is usually found as blue-green pellets but sometimes may be found in liquid preparations.    Clinical signs are usually very rapid in onset after exposure and may initially start as gastrointestinal signs before progressing to more complicated and severe neurological signs including prolonged seizure activity.

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.