Help! My Pet Ate Rodent Poison!

If your dog or cat has eaten mouse or rat poisoning of any form, in any amount, it is an emergency situation. You must bring your pet to the vet immediately to receive treatment. If you do not, the odds of your pet dying are very high. Even if your pet is not experiencing symptoms, do not wait until they do. The symptoms of rodent poisoning do not appear right away, but within 24 hours the animal can be dead. For those who have used it in their own homes, this is why you do not find the dead carcass of the rodent next to the poison they have eaten. If you do find it, it is usually a day or so later in a different location. This is because most rodent poisonings contain a toxic anticoagulant that prevents the body from forming clots. The poison must go through the digestive tract where it will be absorbed and entered into the bloodstream. It will begin inhibiting the body’s ability to form clots which is necessary to sustain life. If left untreated, internal bleeding will occur resulting in death.

The only treatment for anticoagulant poisoning is to receive a vitamin K shot from the veterinarian to restore the body’s ability to clot again. Common brands of anticoagulant poisons include: warfarin, fumarin, D-CON with brodifacoum, bromadiolone, pindone, diphacinone, chlorophacinone, difethialone, Havoc, Liqu-Tox II, Final Blox, D-con, Talon, Contrac Blox, Enforcer and Tomcat.

Recently, however, some anticoagulant poisons are being replaced with bromethalin, an equally deadly chemical. Bromethalin is a neurotoxin that affects the brain and liver causing brain swelling. It can result in seizures, paralysis, and death. If your pet has ingested this type of poison you vet needs to know in order to administer treatments to inhibit these processes. Some brands of non-anticoagulant poisonings include: Quintox, Rat-B-Gone, Mouse-B-Gone, Bromethalin Fast Kill, Strychnine Gopher Bait 50, Zinc Phosphide, Moletox and Tomcat.

It is important to try and intervene before the poison makes its way into the digestive tract. If your pet has ingested the poison within a couple of hours, it is not too late to induce vomiting. You can do this with hydrogen peroxide. The recommended dose is one teaspoon (five milliliters) for every 10 pounds of body weight. Usually vomiting will occur within 15 minutes, if not, you may give a second dose. Do not give a third dose if vomiting does not occur. Next, activated charcoal may be given. This helps to absorb the toxins that have entered into the digestive system which will minimize their absorption into the bloodstream and be expelled through the bowels. Your vet may use other methods available for decontamination because of the special equipment and drugs they have. They will administer drugs to counteract the affects of the poisons. Your pet may need to be hospitalized, and in some cases receive a blood transfusion.

If you are unsure of how long ago the poison was ingested, get to the vet immediately. Bring along the box if able to show to your vet. It is important for them to know what kind of toxin it is and important instructions may be on the box to assist your vet in treatment. Also, knowing the amount ingested will be greatly helpful as well since the toxicity of the dose is determined by the body weight of your pet.

While you do not want to wait for symptoms of poisoning to get help, here are some of the common signs of anticoagulant poisoning:

  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding form the nose
  • Blood in the stool
  • Swollen belly
  • Lethargy
  • Death

Commons signs of bromethalin and other neurotoxic poisoning includes:

  • Lethargy
  • Walking drunk
  • Abnormal pupil size
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

Not only can your dog or cat be poisoned by ingesting these chemicals directly, but secondary poisoning may occur if they eat an animal that has ingested it. For this reason, it is important to remain vigilant to protect your pet with proper monitoring when they are outdoors. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten another animal, contact your vet for safety. Make a habit of peaking into their crates regularly for cleaning and to be sure that no unsafe objects or substances are there.

There really never is a safe place for poisonous bait in your home!! No matter how well you hide it there is the chance that it can be found. It does not taste or smell like poison in order to get the rodents to eat it. Unfortunately, this also makes it appealing to pets. An alternative to using dangerous poisons is to use a havahart trap that captures rodents alive.

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