Rat Poisoning in Dogs

Rodent Poisoning in Pets

Most everyone has dealt with a mouse or rat in their home throughout their life. Even those who haven’t encountered a rodent are likely to use a poison to prevent such animals from making a habitat out of their home. Rodent poison, called rodenticide, also has the power to kill our beloved pets: a well-versed knowledge of rodent poison safety can prevent our pets from becoming victims.

3 common ingredients of rodent poison:

  • Anticoagulants
    • These ingredients block the body from using Vitamin K for blood clotting, eventually causing internal bleeding and death.
    • Common ingredient names: warfarin, coumatetralyl, difenacoum, brodifacoum, flocoumafen, bromadiolone, diphacinone, chlorophacinone, and pindone.
    • Available antidote(s): Vitamin K is administered to pets to counteract the effects of the rodent poison. VetRxDirect now carries a more convenient, chewable vitamin K.
  • Metal Phosphides
    • These ingredients react with the rodent’s stomach contents to form a toxic gas.
    • Common ingredient names: aluminum phosphide calcium phosphide, magnesium phosphide, and zinc phosphide. No specific antidote is available but supportive care can be successful in early cases.
  • Calciferol’s (Vitamin D)
    • These ingredients are different forms of vitamin D and a toxic dose is eaten by the rodent to kill them.
    • Common ingredient names: cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol.
    • Available antidote(s): No specific antidote is available but supportive care can be successful in early cases.

Signs your pet may have ingested rodent poison:

The signs of rodent poisoning in pets varies by type of ingredient. The anticoagulant poisons are likely to cause bleeding. Signs specific to anticoagulant rat poison toxicity include excessive bleeding from cuts and scrapes, bleeding gums, difficulty breathing, bloody stools, bloody vomit, bloody urine, nose bleed, weakness, and bruises.

Signs specific to metal phosphide poisoning include rotten breath odors, depression, rapid breathing, blood in vomit, weakness, and seizures.

Signs specific to Vitamin D poisoning include depression, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, and unpleasant breath odor.

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Actions to take if your pet has ingested rodent poison or you suspect they have:

  1. IMMEDIATELY call your pet’s veterinarian. I emphasize immediately because starting treatment right away can save your pet’s life.
  2. Remove or enclose all rodent poison accessible to your pet. You now know they like the taste of it and it should be out of their reach.
  3. Consult a specialist in removing and preventing rodents from living inside your home.

How to prevent rodent poisoning in dogs:

  • The easiest way to prevent poisoning your pet is to not use rodent poison in your home or surrounding area. However this may not be feasible for those living in highly populated rodent areas.
  • Enclose the rodent poison in contraptions designed just for rodents that aren’t accessible to pets. These are simple devices that the rodent has to crawl into to eat the poison and can help prevent your pet from doing so.
  • You can also try mouse/rat traps, but these are also not completely fool-proof to pets. One curious snout or paw can easily get snapped in a mouse trap.
  • Know the ingredients in your poison(s) and the symptoms of poisoning in your pet. The symptoms may take a while to show but early detection is key for saving their life.

What questions do you have about rodent poisoning in pets? Have you ever experienced a pet ingesting rodent poison?

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