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rodent poisoning in pets

Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Rodenticides, also known as rat bait or mouse poison, are products people often use to control and kill rodents such as mice and rats. These products are also poisonous to dogs and cats. Rodenticides work by preventing blood from clotting, causing the animal to bleed to death internally. Other types of rodenticides work differently to kill rodents. Keep reading to learn about these poisons and how to keep your pet safe.

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Symptoms of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Pet parents may not notice the following symptoms for up to 2 days (or longer) after their pet has ingested a rodenticide. If you know or notice that your pet ate a rodenticide, contact your vet so your pet can be treated to prevent symptoms and death.

Since there are several different rodenticides available, if you have the package or name of the product, be sure to bring it with you to your vet so that your pet can be given the correct antidote - not all rodenticides work the same way.

Common signs to watch out for include:

  • Weakness, lethargic, less active
  • Bloody vomit and diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Limping
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty breathing (which can look like excessive panting or increased respirations and coughing)
  • Incoordination
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

How can my vet diagnose rodenticide poisoning in my pet?

Your vet will begin by asking for a thorough history and perform a complete physical exam. If the specific poison is unknown or you’re uncertain of exposure, some tests can help determine how to treat your pet.

Other diseases cause bleeding disorders and look like rodenticide poisoning that need to be ruled out so that the correct treatment can be given. These include liver disease, hemophilia, immune-mediated diseases, and kidney disease. Some types of rodenticides cause symptoms that mimic nervous system dysfunction, including incoordination, weakness, and seizures.

If possible, bring the packaging of the rodenticide with you or take a picture of the package. Include the name of the product and the active and inactive ingredients listed on the packaging. Place the package inside a Ziploc or other plastic bag to keep your pet from trying to eat more of it.

Can my pet be treated?

Treatment depends on the type of rodenticide the pet ate, how much they ate, when they ate it, and their symptoms. If you suspect that your pet ate rodenticide poison, the sooner they are seen by a vet and treated, the better the outcome.

Preventing Rodenticide Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

It is best not to use rodenticides if you have pets. If it is necessary to have rodenticides be sure to place them in areas that your pet cannot access. Keep dogs in a fenced-in yard and on a leash during walks to keep them from accidentally eating rodenticides on a neighbor’s property.

When to Contact a Vet

If you suspect that your pet has eaten any type of rodenticide or poison. If you aren’t sure something is poisonous contact a vet right away.

If your pet is bleeding from the nose or has bloody diarrhea or vomiting or any of the above symptoms, contact a vet right away.

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