Dog owners at some of Auckland's most popular beaches are
baffled as to why anyone would lay deadly slug bait
indiscriminately in a public area.
At least seven dogs have suffered seizures which are
suspected to have been the result of eating the poison while
walking at Kohimarama and St Heliers beaches in east
Kohimarama Veterinary Clinic has sent a mass email to its
clients warning them not to take their dogs to the beaches,
after six dogs were treated for severe shaking leading to
seizures; symptoms indicating they had eaten slug bait.
The dogs developed symptoms six to eight hours after visiting
the beaches and required immediate treatment, the email said.
The clinic advised people to avoid taking their dogs to the
beaches until the issue had been resolved.
Abbotts Way Veterinary Clinic in nearby Remuera confirmed
that about two weeks ago they had also treated a dog thought
to have been poisoned by metaldehyde - the active ingredient
in slug bait.
While unable to go into specific details, nurse Yani Riley
said the dog was thought to have been on one of the beaches
prior to presenting at the clinic "tremoring and seizuring".
Treating dogs for metaldehyde poisoning mostly just involved
supportive care and trying to keep them as calm as possible.
"With the seizuring they also tend to overheat so it's
important they're kept cool ... with towels and things," she
Auckland Council media advisor Lydia Blatch the council had
been alerted to the reports. "There have been no new cases
since Tuesday and all dogs are recovering."
Vets treated dogs with similar symptoms in early September,
Ms Blatch said.
The poisonings were not due to the council laying baits for
pest birds, she said.
Auckland Council local parks manager Jane Aickin recommended
pet owners keep an eye on their dogs or keep them on a leash
while exercising on the affected beaches.
Council parks officers were carrying out regular checks of
the beach, and warning signs were being installed.
Martin Hunter, who was at Kohimarama Beach with his daughter
Kaitlyn, 13, and their dog Ruby said it was not unusual for
there to be 20 dogs there at once.
There were times when dogs were not required to wear a lead
so there was nothing preventing them sniffing around the
public gardens and consuming whatever they found.
"There's always heaps of people walking their dogs around
here, especially at this time of year so I would have thought
having slug bait laid around here was a very silly idea."
Cary Hogwood, a former professional dog trainer, was shocked
to hear the news as she sat with a friend's dog on the St
"I've seen one dog come very close to being killed by slug
bait poisoning before and I don't want to see it again," she
"They started seizing, shaking, drooling quite a bit and
unable to stand up. That was only two small pieces of the
blue slug bait."
Fortunately a vet was nearby and they were able to get the
dog to vomit.
"I think anyone who throws slug bait indiscriminately in a
public place like this you have to really wonder about
because, aside from anything else, kids can put them in their
mouth and get very sick."
- By Matthew Theunissen and Brendan Manning of APNZ