Stolley Park
Veterinary Hospital

3020 W. Stolley Park Road  Grand Island, Nebraska  68801  
Phone:  308-384-6272   Fax:  308-384-0984

November Newsletter

Rat Poison (Rodenticide Toxicity)

One of the most common toxicities that we see in small animals is rat poison. This particular poison is made to be tasty to attract rodents, and unfortunately it becomes attractive to our family pets as well.

If exposure to rat poison is witnessed, call your veterinarian. If the ingestion is caught in time, the first thing we recommend is to induce vomiting. To save time at home, you can use hydrogen peroxide orally to make your dog vomit. Itís not pretty, but it can be life-saving. Many rat poisons are colored a bright blue-green and can be easily seen in the vomit.

Fortunately, with most rodenticides, the toxic effects are usually not immediate. It can actually take a few days to have an effect. It is still important, however, to induce vomiting and have your veterinarian administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption into the system.

Clinical signs are related to the inability of the blood to clot. If the ingestion is not witnessed, the first sign of exposure may be bruising on the gums or skin. Another potential warning sign is inability of a wound or puncture to clot. Some dogs may only have bloody noses.

If rat poison is suspected, a blood coagulation test can be performed. If suspected, the treatment for rat poison is Vitamin K. This can be given as an injection initially, then orally for the next few weeks. The newer poisons can last in the body for weeks. With that in mind, most exposed animals are being treated for at least 21 days with oral Vitamin K, even if ingestion canít be confirmed.

Obviously, prevention of exposure would be ideal. However, if your pet has ingested this seemingly irresistible deadly substance, donít panic. Instead, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.