On the rare occasions when dogs come into contact with 1080, the outcome is often fatal. Dogs tend to roam, so they're at greater risk of 1080 poisoning than other domestic animals. Dog deaths are usually the result of them getting into an area being treated with 1080. However, most deaths reported to us happen when dogs eat poisoned possum carcasses, not bait. Dogs don’t recognise boundaries and are scavengers, so any animal carcass is a potential target for them.
Part of our work at OSPRI involves controlling NZ's possum population to prevent the spread of bovine TB to our livestock.
Bovine TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis, and it spreads through close contact between animals. In New Zealand, possums are the main carrier and spreader of TB. We use a variety of methods to control possum numbers, including:
We take any dog deaths due to 1080 poisoning seriously, and we review our operational practices when a death is reported to us.
If a dog ingests 1080 poison through roaming or scavenging, the symptoms of exposure should appear anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours later. Dogs who have been exposed to 1080 may:
If you think your dog has chewed or eaten part of a poisoned carcass, make it vomit immediately. You can do this by:
You'll need to take your dog to the nearest vet as soon as possible. Phone ahead to tell them you're on the way and explain the problem. Dogs can die anywhere from 2 to 12 hours after ingesting poison – it's important to know there's no antidote for 1080.
For more help, contact the National Poisons Centre 24-hour emergency service on 0800 764 766.
Preventing dogs from exposure to 1080 poison is the most effective way of protecting them.
If you're a farmer working your dogs in or around a poisoned area, there are some precautions you can take to help keep them safe.