Vomiting pets are always cause for concern – especially when the vomit is blue or green! Can you guess what common household product saw Tilley admitted for a lifesaving procedure?


Tilley’s owners acted quickly when they noticed Tilley shaking, hypersalivating and experiencing an episode of diarrhoea and blue tinged vomiting. They rushed Tilly to the NWVC, where Dr. Dawn immediately began assessment.

Tilley, an otherwise healthy 3-year-old Blue Heeler, had no prior health concerns – however her presenting symptoms were all consistent with snail bait poisoning.

Snail bait poses a major risk for domestic dogs and cats and is a more common source of poisoning than you may expect. The two most common active ingredients in snail baits are metaldehyde (“Defender”) and methiocarb (“Baysol”) and are often mixed with tasty additives such as molasses or brown sugar – making these poisons highly attractive to our canine and feline friends.

These compounds are toxic to the nervous system, causing muscle tremors, lack of coordination, seizures and ultimately death. Poisoned animals may display symptoms within minutes of ingestion. Common symptoms include; anxiety, panting, hypersalivation (drooling), vomiting, hyperthermia (increased temperature), muscle tremors and seizures. Typically, treatment involves the removal of the toxin from the stomach and supportive therapy.

Tilley was admitted to hospital, where vomiting was induced – unfortunately this was unsuccessful. Further action needed to be taken, seeing Tilley prepped for a more involved procedure, known as a gastric lavage. Tilley underwent a general anaesthetic, during which a stomach tube was placed, and the stomach flushed of the ingested toxins. Following the procedure, activated charcoal was administered to soak up any remaining poison, alongside atropine and an enema.

Prompt action by Tilley’s owner’s and Dr Dawn saw Tilley home, safe and well with her family that very evening. Ongoing monitoring was required, and thankfully no further symptoms were noted. While her appetite was mildly decreased during the following hours, we are pleased to report Tilley has had a remarkable recovery.

If you have pets, we strongly advise against the use of snail baits at home. If you suspect your pet has ingested snail bait, seek immediate veterinary treatment. If possible, it is important to bring any packaging to the clinic with your pet so the active ingredients can be determined.