Category Archives: Dogs

Rat Bait Poisoning

“My dog ate Rat Poison a few hours ago but he seems fine…”

We commonly receive phone calls from well-meaning pet owners with dogs or cats that had eaten rat poison a few hours earlier, or even the night before. Sometimes we’re not told for days or weeks after the pet has eaten rat bait, and unfortunately sometimes by then it’s too late.

Rat Bait Poisoning

Rat Bait ingestion is always serious, but often doesn’t cause clinical signs straight away. This is because it stops clotting factors from being produced, and symptoms do not appear until those clotting factors are depleted. This results in pets eating rat bait, that initially appear fine. Unfortunately by the time symptoms are present, such as spontaneous severe bleeding, treatment is more difficult and costly.

Pets that are actively bleeding may require blood or plasma transfusions, and several weeks of antidote administration until the rat bait is excreted from their system. Some pets will also require a stay in intensive care.

The best course of action if your pet has eaten rat bait is to present them to a vet clinic as soon as possible. A vet can induce vomiting and commence decontamination if indicated. If presented immediately after ingestion, some pets will not need ongoing medication.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, it is ALWAYS best to present them to a vet clinic for treatment, even if you are unsure.

There is no such thing as a completely ‘pet safe’ rat bait. If pets wont eat it, neither will the rats.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral Valve disease is the most common type of heart disease in small dogs and is especially common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy and Miniature Poodle, Maltese Terrier and Chihuahua.

Normal canine heart valves

The valves in a normal heart close tightly to only allow blood to flow in one direction. Diseased valves will leak, allowing blood to flow backwards or regurgitate, which may be heard as a heart murmur. Leaky valves change the blood flow dynamics and internal blood pressure in the heart, often causing it to enlarge, which is seen on Xray.

mitral valves

Because the leaky heart valve allows blood to flow backwards, the pumping of the heart becomes less efficient and over time will lead to congestive heart failure. This may take a few months, or it may take several years.

Initially the dog attempts to cope by retaining fluid to increase blood volume. This fluid can gather in the lungs, causing decreased oxygen transfer and a cough.

Patients are often prescribed diuretics (eg frusemide) to reabsorb this fluid, and may be prescribed other medications such as Vetmedin or Fortekor to improve quality of life and extend survival times. Some patients require fluid to be drained, or may require oxygen therapy.

Monitoring your pet for a persistent cough or an increased resting respiratory rate at home is the best way to monitor their heart health in between their regular veterinary check ups.