Matamata Veterinary Services | Latest News

Latest News

Rat Bait Poisoning

June 14, 2021

With winter comes increased numbers of mice and rats, and increased use of poisons to try to control these pesky creatures. Unfortunately dogs also seem to like to help themselves to these poisons leading to serious consequences and sometimes even death. There are various poisons used for pest control but the most common are anticoagulant or ‘warfarin like’ poisons. Common brands include Talon, Storm, Pindone, Racumin, and Pest Off but there are many other generic brands.

Anticoagulant poisons work by preventing the body from producing essential blood clotting factors, leading to internal bleeding. This bleeding can occur into many parts of the body including the lungs, chest, abdomen or joints. Dogs poisoned with rat bait don’t tend to show signs till 3-5 days after ingesting the poison. Clinical signs can be very variable, usually starting off with a lethargic, depressed, quiet dog who may or may not eat food. Some times a soft cough can be heard, and gums begin to go pale. As more internal bleeding occurs more severe signs occur, the most common being an increased breathing rate leading to visibly difficult breathing.

If you SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS EATEN RAT BAIT, PRESENT HIM/HER TO A VETERINARY CLINIC AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. It is possible to make them vomit and bring up the poison before it has been totally absorbed. If you are unsure if your dog has ingested rat bait and they are not showing any signs then there is a blood test that can be taken to measure the clotting ability of the blood, and particular clotting factor levels within the blood.

The good news is if there has been some uptake of the poison there is an antidote called vitamin K. If there is considerable bleeding within the body, it is sometimes necessary to give a blood transfusion to provide fresh clotting factors and red blood cells.
Photo cred: istock