“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 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.
All snail baits are toxic to pets, even the so-called ‘pet-safe’ ones. Some brands will claim to have a ‘pet taste deterrent’, but what exactly will deter a species that occasionally eats faeces?
When I was working in emergency practice, I saw far too many cases of snail bait poisoning, most from getting into the pellets around the veggie garden, though a few dogs were silly enough to break into the box in the garage and eat the whole thing.
Snail bait is usually a hazard of spring, and all of them are toxic to pets. They do kill by different mechanisms and cause different clinical signs. Broadly speaking there are three kinds of snail bait;
- Metaldehyde (eg Defender, BlitzEm) is typically green in colour and poisonings are very common. It causes restlessness and muscle tremors progressing to seizures, coma and death. If the patient is treated and survives these seizures, liver failure can occur a few days later. It can take effect in as little as 20 minutes from being eaten.
- Methiocarb (eg Baysol) is typically blue in colour and also causes rapid seizures progressing to coma and death.
- Iron EDTA (eg Multiguard) is often orange or brown in colour and unfortunately often labelled as ‘pet safe’. While it doesn’t cause rapid onset seizures, instead it causes direct intestinal injury, followed by oxidative damage to the liver, heart and brain. To begin with dogs may vomit or have diarrhoea, then they often appear to recover for a day. They they begin to go downhill rapidly with further vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, clotting disorders, liver failure and sometimes cardiovascular collapse. Even if they survive all of this, they may have ongoing gastrointestinal problems afterwards. So you see, not exactly ‘pet safe’.
The best way to protect your pet is Continue reading