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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Poisoning, Poison Baits View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition




Condition Overview

Animal baits containing strychnine, sodium fluoroacetate, phosphorus, zinc phosphide, and metaldehyde are used in rural areas to control gopher, cyotes, and other predators. They are also used in stables and barns to eliminate rodents.


Strychnine - Signs of poisoning appear within 2 hours of ingestion. They include agitation, excitability, and apprehension, followed rather quickly by intensely painful convulsions with rigid extension of all four limbs. Seizures last about 60 seconds, during which time the dog throws his head back, stops breathing and turns blue. The slightest stimulation, even touching the pet or clapping your hands, can trigger a seizure. This type of seizure response is typical only of strychnine.

Other signs of poisoning include tremors, champing, drooling, uncoordinated muscle spasms, collapse, and paddling of the legs.

Sodium Fluoroacetate - The onset is sudden and begins with vomiting, followed by agitation, staggering, convulsions, and collapse.

Metaldehyde - Signs of toxicity include excitation, drooling and slobbering, uncoordinated gait, muscle tremors, inability to stand, and continuous seizures that eventually lead to death from respiratory paralysis.

Phosphorous - A poisoned pet may have a garlic odor to his breath. The first signs of intoxication are vomiting and diarrhea. This is followed by an interval of normal behavior, then by further vomiting, cramps, pain in the abdomen, convulsions, and coma.

Zinc Phosphide - Intoxication causes depression, rapid labored breathing, vomiting (often of blood), weakness, convulsions, and death.


Ingestion of poisonous substances.


Diagnosis is made by observing behavior and symptoms


Strychnine - Induce vomiting immediately after ingestion - but do not induce vomiting if the dog is unresponsive, convulsing, or having difficulty breathing.

To induce vomiting to prevent poison absorption give the dog hydrogen peroxide. A 3% solution is most effective. Give 1 teaspoon (5ml) per 10 pounds (4.5kg) of body weight. Repeat every 15 - 20 minutes, up to 3 times, until the dog vomits. Walking the dog after each dose may help stimulate vomiting.

Cover the dog with a coat or blanket and proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest veterinary clinic. Further treatment involves administering intravenous diazepam (Valium) or barbiturates to control seizures. The dog is placed in a dark, quiet room and disturbed as little as possible.

Sodium Fluoroacetate - Treatment is similar to that described for strychnine poisoning.

Metaldehyde - Treatment is similar to that described for strychnine poisoning.

Phosphorous - Induce vomiting when you suspect the dog has ingested a product or poison that contains phosphorus. Do not coat the bowel with milk or egg whites, as this can actually promote absorption. Take your dog to the nearest veterinary facility. There is no specific antidote.

Zinc Phosphide - Treatment is similar to that described for strychnine poisoning. The lavage must be done at a veterinary clinic. There is no specific antidote. The stomach should be lavaged with 5% sodium bicarbonate, which raises the gastric pH and delays the formation of gas.


Keep all toxic substances out of reach of pets and children. Do not allow your pets to roam freely.


  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (fee)
  • Angell Animal Poison Control Hotline 1-877-226-4355
  • Animal Poison Hotline operated by the North Shore Animal League and PROSAR International Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-232-8870

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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