Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pet Health Tip #26- Rat Poison

One of the common problems with fall and winter is as the weather cools, mice decided to set up residence in our homes, garages, barns, etc.  So, I thought I would put out a word of warning about the dangers of rat bait to pets.  Most rat poisons contain anticoagulants.  These work by stopping the synthesis of Vitamin K.  Vitamin K is essential for clotting to occur.  These poisons are not picky about who ingests them, meaning they will cause the same effect whether it is a rat, a dog, or a who eats it.  The rat poison smells good and with your pet’s keen sense of smell, it doesn’t take them long to find it, no matter how well you think you have hidden it.

Many times it is several days after the pet ingests the poison before they start showing symptoms.  Early symptoms include: Vomit/diarrhea that contains blood, bloody nasal discharge, and pale gums.  As the poisoning takes more effect the symptoms will progress to severe anemia which will cause weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, internal bleeding into the chest or abdomen, and eventually death.

Outdoor pets are at greatest risk for rat poison ingestion.  They can come in contact with it in a barn, neighbors trash, or by ingesting a rat who has been poisoned.  If you catch your pet in the act of eating rat poison, you'll need to induce vomiting.  Use a needleless syringe or even a turkey baster to squirt 3% hydrogen peroxide solution into the back of your pet's mouth.  Give between one and two teaspoons of solution for every ten pounds of weight.  Give the hydrogen peroxide, then wait five or ten minutes to see if your pet vomits. If he does, take him to the vet right away. If not, administer another dose.  REMEMBER- inducing vomiting is ONLY for immediate treatment.  For acute ingestion, the typical treatment includes giving Vitamin K.  However, if you are seeing the symptoms listed above, then it is important to get your pet to the veterinarian to start emergency treatment.  This may include whole blood or plasma transfusions to restore the blood volume.

 Not all rat poisons are toxic to pets.  Will help your veterinarian to determine the best treatment options, if you can bring the package with you on your visit.

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