Paws Awhile | Protect pets from a potential poison

Summer is over, and just as you want to spend more time at home in the warmth, near the fire, so too do our unwanted housemates, rats and mice. 

CAUTION: If you do use rat baits, ensure they are kept well away from your pets.

CAUTION: If you do use rat baits, ensure they are kept well away from your pets.

A lot of people choose to use rat and mice baits to control this issue, but unfortunately, our much-loved pets can, inadvertently, fall victim too. 

If eaten, rat bait can have serious consequences and can ultimately lead to the death of your beloved pet. 

The active ingredient in rat and mice baits leads to reduced vitamin K-dependent clotting factor which then stops your pet’s blood from clotting. 

Signs that your pet may have been affected by rat bait include:

  • uncontrolled bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum or wounds 
  • pale gums 
  • bruises on the skin 
  •  trouble breathing 
  • lethargy 
  • lameness 
  • bloody urine
  • black tarry stools 

Another important fact that a lot of people do not realise, is that these signs can take one to five days after ingestion of the bait to appear. 

If you discover that your pet has eaten bait recently, you need to visit your vet straightaway so that they can induce vomiting before all bait is absorbed. 

If you are not sure if your pet has eaten rat bait in the past week or so then your vet can perform a blood clotting test.

This will determine if the blood is clotting normally. 

Additional tests also include a full blood count to see if your pet has enough red blood cells and is not anaemic. 

The treatment for rat bait toxicity depends on how unwell your pet is. 

Oral vitamin K tablets and rest for four weeks is often required. 

Unfortunately in vet hospitals we sometimes see pets who have lost a lot of blood before coming to us. These pets need lifesaving blood transfusions and a stay in hospital. 

If you do use rat baits, please make sure that there is no potential access for your pets. 

It is amazing what dogs and cats can get into when unsupervised. 

If you suspect that your pet has eaten some rat bait, or is showing any signs of rat bait poisoning, please contact your vet straight away for immediate medical attention.

For further information on animal health related issues contact your family veterinary clinic.