My Dog Ate Rat Poison

Robert James
Pest Control Technician

When your dog takes rat poison, you need to be greatly worried. Most of the modern rat poison are sophisticated and therefore require great attention and knowledge when it comes to treatment. The obvious answer to the question of your dog ingesting poison would be to run to a veterinary doctor or call the pet poison helpline immediately. This is good but as well, you need to have knowledge of how some these poisons work, their detrimental effects and possible ways of administering treatment to your dog in case it takes any rat poison. Therefore, this article will help you in the early hours before you the vet.

Dog Ate Rat Poison: What to Do Now?

Poisoned dog

Important Things to Note When Your Dog Ingests Rat Poison

            There are certain things that you should note when you realize that your dog ingests rat poison. These include the following:

  • Always know that you dog can always get good treatment if less than two hours have passed after taking the poison. Normally, you are supposed to induce your dog to vomit out the poison. Inducement will prevent the absorption of the poison into the body of the dog.
  • Secondly, you are supposed to call the Pet Poison Helpline. This body is normally concerned with managing rodenticides especially on pets like dogs.
  • Another thing you should bear in mind is that these poisons are used everywhere. This means that rodents can exist anywhere--- in homes, stables, garages, farms and parks or even wildlife areas.
  • Another point to note when your dog takes rat poison is the different colors that rat poisons bear. Some can be green, blue, tan or red. As well, these poisons are also available in different formulations—pellets, bait blocks, grain-based baits etc. Most of these products look similar especially when it comes to naming.
  • This means that if your dog ingests the poison, it is necessary for you to do proper identification of the active ingredient in the poison. This is crucial in determining the risk of the poison and the appropriate treatment.
  • What if the active ingredient is no visible on the packaging of the bait? If this is the case, you can check for the EAP registration number. This number will help the Pet Poison Helpline veterans to correctly identify the active ingredient and administer the correct treatment.
  • Note that when your dog eats rat poison, rapid action can often save a dog’s life and prevent you from undergoing costly medical care.

Four major ingredients exist in rat poisons. It is necessary that you know the ingredients. In addition to that, it is very vital for you to know their mechanism of actions, signs of poisoning, toxic doses and treatment options. The ingredients are as discussed below:

1. Long-Acting Anticoagulants (Laacs) :

Many people always come across this most common rat poison. The poison prevents blood from clotting thus leading to internal bleeding. In reality, the long-acting anticoagulant works similarly to the blood thinner medications that people take. Examples are warfarin and Coumadin. When dogs or cats eat Long-acting anticoagulants, they may stay for three to four days before you notice signs of poisoning. However, the onset of the clinical signs comes immediately when the dog has been chronically exposed to the poison.

In an event that your dog ingests Long-acting anticoagulants, you will see signs of internal bleeding. For example, the dog will display difficulty in breathing because there will be internal bleeding in the lungs, weakness of the body, pale gums, coughing, intolerance to exercises and lethargy. However, it is very rare to see signs like vomiting, diarrhea, nose bleeding, and bloody urine, bleeding gums or swollen joints.

What do you need to do when you see these signs? The good news is that this rat poison has a prescription antidote called Vitamin K1. The antidote is available over the counter. As well you go for foods with high vitamin K content even though this will not be sufficient. The treatment for the Long-acting anticoagulants ingestion takes 30 days. When the 30 days are over, you can conduct a blood-clotting test two days later. The test is called prothrombin (PT) test. When doing it, be keen to ensure that the clotting of blood is normal.

Other points to note when the dog gets poisoned with Long-acting anticoagulants are:

  • The dose of ingredient like brodifacoum and bromadiolone needed to cause poisoning LAACs varies greatly between the active ingredients
  • The age of the dog also determines whether the amount the dog ingested will be poisonous. Younger dogs are more at risk.

2. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3):

This rat poison is the most dangerous in the market. It has gained a lot of popularity for its lethal qualities. When a dog takes the poison, it will cause calcium and phosphorus levels to rise very highly in the body. This leads to severe and acute kidney failure in the dog.

When the dog takes this poison, you are likely to see increased thirst and urination from the dog. The dog will also look weak and show signs of decreased appetite. The pet will also show lethargy and signs of uremic breath. The acute kidney failure normally happens tow ot three days after taking the poison. This explains why immediate treatment is necessary. After the two or three days, there is normally a permanent and significant damage in the body.

This type of poisoning is therefore the most challenging to treat. It requires hospitalization of the dog accompanied by frequent laboratory monitoring. The therapies are normally very expensive but positive results are required for any hope to be realized.

There is no specific antidote. However, there poison responds to aggressive IV fluids for 2-3 days and special drugs like steroids, calcitonin and bisphosphonates. These drugs are administered to reduce the calcium levels in the body. The treatment requires that the vet officer monitor blood work quite closely for a period of 2-6 weeks after ingestion.

This poison presents very slim chance of survival for your dog. Therefore, when you notice that your dog has ingested the poison, you should immediately engage the Pet Poison Helpline to start working on the dog. The most important part of the treatment is to help avoid kidney failure.

3. Bromethalin :

This is the third rat poison and it courses swelling of the brain. It contains ingredients similar to LAACs. Therefore, it can be easily mistaken to be LAACs. When a dog ingests this poison, it uncouples oxidative phosphorylation in the brain and liver mitochondria. These results in a state called cerebral edema.

Some of the common signs for this infection are tremors, seizures, paralysis and even death. This means that the more the animal eats, the more severe the clinical signs. The signs develop within 2 hours but can also delay as long as 36 hours.

According to  some Symptoms and Types are detected also

"Common symptoms of toxicosis in dogs include loss of appetite (anorexia), impaired movement, paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs, slight muscle tremors, generalized seizures, and a depression of the central nervous system. Ingestion of extremely high doses may cause a sudden onset of muscle tremors, and even seizures.

Clinical signs usually develop within two to seven days of bromethalin ingestion; however, it is possible that signs will not develop for up to two weeks following ingestion. If poisoning is mild, with minimal bromethalin ingestion, symptoms may resolve within one to two weeks of onset, although some dogs may continue to show signs for four to six weeks."

Therefore, when treatment is taken immediately, there should be close monitoring for at least 24 hours after ingestion. This means that the dog should be in hospital for a few days because the poison has long lasting effects. Treatments that can be administered include decontamination, IV fluids and special drugs to decrease brain swelling. Multiple doses of activated charcoal can be given to the dog to bind up the poison.

Therefore, with the idea in mind that this poison has a narrow margin of safety in all pets, you should be able to take quick action when you realize your dog has ingested the poison. Prompt therapy normally helps a lot.

4. Zinc And Aluminum Phosphides :

This poison is mostly meant for moles and gophers. However, it is also sued in mouse and rat baits. When a dog inhales the fumes from this poison, it may have lung irritation. It is even dangerous to the pet owner also.

The poison releases phosphine gas in the stomach. Therefore, if there is any food in the stomach, the amount of gas produced will increase. This leads to increased toxicity of the poison. Therefore, never feed your dog any food when it takes this poison.

Some of the signs you are likely to see are stomach bloating , vomiting, abdominal pain, shock, collapse and liver damage. The poison does not have an antidote. Therefore, it requires immediate therapy. When you realize that your do has taken this poison, you should call the Pet Poison Helpline seek veterinary attention.

As you call the helpline, you can administer some antacids to help decrease the amount of gas produced by the poison. The next step is to decontaminate the stomach through inducing vomiting of pumping the stomach. Take a lot care during decontamination because it is dangerous to be exposed to the gas. Always avoid this process and leave it to the veterinary officer.

It is clear from the exposition above that the best thing a dog owner needs is knowledge of the household toxins. This will help the dog owner to pet-proof the house appropriately. All the gardening and lawn products should always be labeled and tightly sealed in containers. Keep them out of your dog’s reach. In any case, you dogs are poisoned; you now have detailed information concerning the toxins. Always be quick to contact the veterinarian or pet poison helpline and give detailed description of the poison.

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