Friday, September 12, 2008

Beware of What you Use in Your Flower Beds


Ziggy had a close call Wednesday evening.

I came home from work around 7 pm Wednesday evening. My son (T) had Ziggy in the front yard with him as he washed his car. Ziggy's leash was tied to a post to keep him from chasing off down the street. I have always been afraid he would run off in the street and face an oncoming car. Yes, I have always been very protective of my Ziggy.

When Ziggy saw me approach the front door towards towards him, he greeted me with his uncondtional love, lots of attempted kisses and an excited passion. I greeted him stroking his fur and sang gleeful songs of I missed you too my love. He calmed down and I went inside to place my purse and lunch container. My standard home from work routine.

It was still light outside and the temperature was nice. I decided to do a little flower garden maintenance while my son continued to pamper his car. I have a raised flower bed in the front yard. I noticed some unwanted crawly things waiting to prey upon my remaining summer flowers. In a lapse of sound thinking and ignorance of outcomes of my act, I went to the garage to see what arsenal of chemicals were available to cease the destruction these crawly things might impose on my precious flower garden.

I sprinkled the metaldehyde pellets coated with a sweet molasses in this flower bed. I didn't second think that my Ziggy would find these pellets appetizing. I didn't think anything hazradous or potentially life threatening. I did consider that there were no immediately present edible vegetables that would be contaminted by this peticide and since my backyard garden was distant from this flower bed, I was creating no immediate harm.

My son continued to put the last glamorizing touches to his car while Ziggy remained on the grass content and happy he was outside. I went inside and prepared dinner. (after all this is a food blog.) My son wanted a salad with tuna and I only wanted something simple like a bacon and cheddar cheese sandwich on sour dough bread. Ziggy and T came in about 20 minutes later with one interruption by someone soliciting donations for a political purpose.

T and I ate dinner. He also gave Ziggy a few bites of grilled tuna as he requested/begged. We finished eating and cleaning the kitcen.

It was now about 9pm. Ziggy walked like he wanted to go outside and poopie. T took him for a walk and returned. He commented to me that Ziggy seemed to be lax and didn't want to walk. He took him to the backyard to hopefully finish what he did not do on the short walk.

T commented to me again that Ziggy was in the backyard and was acting funny. I went outside and got him. He was still and not his usual self. I took him inside and wondered what is wrong. He was obviously not feeling well. I sat holding him for a while. He started to tremble and could not be calmed. T took him on his lap and continued to stroke him. We did think maybe we should take him to a vet, but at the same time not equating any of my actions from earlier that evening with how he was reacting, I thought this to will pass. If he wasn't better in the morning, we would seek a vet. We gave him water by inserting small drops in his mouth. Nearly 11pm, I chose to go to bed as I needed to go to work early in the morning. T would nurse and watch Ziggy.

Around 1:30am T awoke me. Ziggy is worse. He is trembling and panting excessively. T ran back downstairs and then came back to me and said Ziggy had what appeared to be a seizure. I totally woke up and went downstairs. Ziggy looked to be dying. He was heavily panting and his whole body was shaking/trembling heavily also. We have to go to an emergency Veterinary clinic. I found one in the phone book, called and was directed to a 24 hour emergency animal hospital in Culver City. We were out the door in seconds. T drove while I held Ziggy. I felt he was dying and it was my fault because I waited so long to seek treatment.

We got to the care center, pressed the emergency access bell and were greeted by personnel who took an obviously sick animal back to the emergency treatment area. It is now about 2 am. T and I worked with the receptionist to complete the admit paper work. A request from the treatment area of the very helpful front desk personnel suggested the worst. I felt something was terribly wrong, broke down on my son's shoulder and cried hard. A few minutes later someone came out and let us know Ziggy had another seizure. He was given Valium and an injectable muscle relaxant, methocarbamol. He had a fever of 105 which the Vet described as life threatening and potentially may result in body systems breakdown and coagulation problems (bleeding).

They needed to know Ziggy's history and what led to what was happening now. After a few questions and walk through of the evenings activities, the face of a very professional and caring Vet concluded that Ziggy probably ate some of the snail bait pellets I distibuted in the flower bed.

Snail Bait- Metaldehyde poisioning is a common event leading to the death of many dogs. It is a stong neurotoxin with ingestion of as little as 1 teaspoonful per 10 pound dog can be fatal. The label warns to keep from pets.


We are so fortunate that Ziggy survived this event. From his estimated ingestion time to treatment (4-5 hours) he is very lucky to be alive. How much he ate and when he ate it, we will not know.

I am posting this experience to alert you all to be careful with your pets. It may not be your yard that is doused with these poisons so be aware.

I will now look for an animal health care plan. The admtting personel at the emergency medical clinic estimated cost could be as much as $1500.00. We were allowed to go see Ziggy in the treatment area after about an hour. He was more calm though still trembling. He was monitored by an EKG, had an IV catheter with fluids being administered and still looked severely ill though better than when we arrived. The Vet assured me that he was doing better and that she would call if there were any further problems. I went to work Thursday. I phoned the clinic and was assured he would be fine. He did not have any more seizures. We went back to the critical care animal hospital after work on Thursday evening. The final bill was $1066.00. In about 16 hours Ziggy was back to normal based on my assessment.

Though the Vet recommended he stay an additional night (at over $300.00 additional), I chose to bring him home. 24 hours later, he is fine and back to normal. The only reminder is his one shaved leg where the IV catheter had been placed.

T took a shop vac and removed all the pellets from the flower bed. He also water soaked the area to dissolve any pellets which could have been missed. We threw away the remainder of pellets.

9 comments:

maltese parakeet said...

feel better soon, ziggy!

mSjEnA said...

Ohh poor baby , I'm glad he's okay ! My daughter had a teacup terrier and he was sick when she purchased him apparently. When she got him home withing 2 days he had to be admitted into the doggy hospital. The costs were CRAZY - because he continued to get sick and the costs continued to rise, she had to make the choice of leaving him. She did and she called back within the same week and he had passed.

Get Well Ziggy !!

Seve said...

Can we get an update on ziggy posted here?

Sylvie said...

Ziggy has recovered 100%. When we brought him home from the animal critical care hospital he was like normal. He has had no adverse events since then and thank god no more seizures. On the other hand, I have been so filled with guilt because I did not think about the possible consequences of my actions. I'm now dedicated to making sure I bring this to the attention of all dog and cat owners.

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

Oh my gosh! Yeah, they make that stuff taste good because snails love it, but so do pets! I have rampant snails and weeds in my backyard because I can't use anything for fear my dog will eat it!

Don't let the guilt get to you - no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is that Ziggy is OK now!

ctoshio said...

im glad to hear that ziggy is doing better.this should warining to us all on the becareful and what we us around the garden when we have pets and kids. children also pick up things too and eat them too.if you can try and find products that and safe and nature to use around pets and kids.
curt

ctoshio said...

i did a google search and found a site called petinsurance.com
there is a few others listed when you google it
curt

Rachael said...

Oh Sylvie! How terrifying for you! And poor Ziggy! SO glad to hear he is okay. Bless.

I hope after that scare you will consider going organic...

NightBird said...

I'm so glad your Ziggy is ok. I know it's hard to not feel guilty but I've personally learned from my many mistakes with my own pets. No one is perfect all the time.