It is quite common for households to put out rat poison (rodenticide) when there is a rodent infestation in the house. Unfortunately though, what is attractive to rats is also attractive to dogs and cats. Rodenticide contains compounds such as warfarin, which is just as toxic to pets as it is to rodents. Some examples of rodenticides include Havoc, Liqua-Tox II, Final Blox, D-Con, Contrac Blox, Enforcer and Tomcat.
So why is it so toxic? Rodenticides block the action of Vitamin K, which plays an integral role in blood clotting, or coagulation. Thus, rodenticides are anti-coagulants, which interfere with normal coagulation.
Symptoms of poisoning in dogs or cats are a result of blood loss and can include lethargy, collapse, pale gums and general weakness. Blood may be seen in urine, feces or vomit if the pet is vomiting. Bruising may be seen on the skin, and there may be bleeding from the gums.
If you see any of these signs on your pet or suspect ingestion of a rodenticide, it is important to take your pet to a vet immediately. If the ingestion was within the last 2-3 hours, the vet may give your pet a drug to induce vomiting. This should help remove some of the toxins from the stomach to limit the amount that is absorbed into the bloodstream. The pet may also be given Vitamin K supplements, particularly if he/she is showing signs of bleeding. Severe cases may require a blood transfusion. Remember, signs may not be seen until several days after the rodenticide is ingested!
Prevention of rodenticide ingestion is very important and any poisons should be kept well out of reach of household pets.
Share this article about cats, dogs and rat poison with people you know that have pets so they will know to be careful!