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Rodenticide (Rat bait) Poisoning

 

Rodenticide contains chemicals that are potent anti-coagulants – i.e. stop the blood from being able to clot. This is done by depleting the number of vitamin K dependent clotting factors in circulation.

Exposure to rat baits can cause this to occur in your animal. There are first and second generation chemicals:

  • First generation: warfarin, pindone (brands: Ratsak, Racumin, Pival)

  • Second generation: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, diphacinone, and chlorophacinone. (brand: Talon-G, Bromakil, Ratik Plus.) Are generally more toxic and persist in the animal’s body for longer periods of time.

After ingestion of rat bait, you may not see clinical signs of poisoning for 3-4 days, even up to 4 weeks.

Clinical signs of rat bait poisoning include:

  • Lethargy

  • Inappetance

  • Pale gums

  • Breathing difficulties and exercise intolerance

  • Coughing

  • Bleeding from mouth or nose

  • Blood in faeces and urine

If your animal has had access to rat bait/showing any of signs mentioned above please contact the clinic immediately.

Potential complications:

  • Internal haemorrhage (bleeding) – into chest cavity, abdomen, joints and possibly brain

  • Secondary bacterial pneumonia

  • Death

Treatment:

Generally involves making the dog vomit if they have ingested the bait within the last hour. Treatment with vitamin K tablets should be started. If dogs are showing severe clinical signs they may require supportive fluid therapy, blood transfusions and a prolonged course (4-5 weeks) of vitamin K tablets.  With the more potent rodenticides it can take weeks to be completely eliminated from the body. We will recommend carrying out clotting tests on your pet 72 hours after finishing their course of Vitamin K to make sure the rodenticide is no longer affecting their ability to form a blood clot. 

Prevention:

  • Do not allow pets to have access to anticoagulant rodenticides.

  • Also remember with the more potent second generation rat baits, ingestion of a dead rat could be enough to affect your animal.

Pets