Healing Springs Animal Hospital sees multiple cases of poisoned dogs and cats every year. Even if you do not use rat poison in your own home, there are some things you should know about this dangerous product.
The most popular forms of rat poison come in green pellets. They contain anticoagulants – agents that reduce the blood’s ability to clot. In addition, rat poison also contains food or food-like ingredients designed to attract rats. These same ingredients can sometimes be appetizing to dogs and cats. Given the opportunity, dogs and cats will eat rat poison.
Bear in mind, that once poisoned, the rats and mice themselves become poisonous. If a dog or cat eats a rodent that has been killed by rat poison, the pet will typically be poisoned, too. Whether the poison is consumed primarily or secondarily, rat poison is more than potent enough to kill even large dogs.
Rodents that consume rat poison do not die immediately. They have time to wander off. Therefore, even if you do not personally use rat poison, a neighbor using rat poison can inadvertently poison your pet.
Here’s what pet owners should do to help prevent their pets from falling victim to this common hazard. Do not use rat poison in your own household. Restrict the movement of your pet to your own property. Discourage your pets from consuming rodents, especially dead or unhealthy rodents.
When consumed, rat poison may cause internal bleeding, external bleeding, seizures, and/or organ damage – especially to the kidneys. Clinical signs of anticoagulant poisoning include, blood in the urine, blood in the stool, nose bleeds, and bruising. Unfortunately, if a pet is showing outward signs of rat poison, it is usually too late to save the pet. An emergency visit to the vet can save pets who have ingested rat poison, but only if the visit is very prompt. By the time outward signs of poisoning are present, the pet usually cannot be saved.
At Healing Springs Animal Hospital, a veterinarian will start by forcing the pet to vomit. They will look for the characteristic green pellets in the vomit or remains of a poisoned animal. The vet will then start the pet on aggressive vitamin K therapy, oral or subcutaneous. The vitamin K works to restore the bloods clotting ability. Vitamin K therapy is inexpensive. If you ever suspect that your pet has consumed rat poison, get it to Healing Springs immediately. Do not wait for the pet to show outward signs of poisoning.