Oh no my dog has eaten rat bait – what now?
Whether you noticed that your dog has eaten rat bait, or you are highly suspicious that your dog has eaten rat bait there are a few things you need to be aware of so that your pet’s life is not at risk.
Rat bait can kill any animal, and it can even harm your pet when not ingested directly. Many vets see cases where the cat or the dog has consumed the rat that has eaten the bait and then they’ve been affected by the bait.
Three types of rat bait poison you need to know
While I will happily plead with you to never use rat bait as it can kill any animal (wildlife, pets, bids), I know some of you will. Aside from taking precautions as to how you place it so that no other animal can gain access, it’s important to keep a record of where you put it and what type of poison you laid.
It’s important to remember the type of poison you laid or find out what your pet got into as it helps vets to treat the animal appropriately. All four types of rat bait work in different ways so require different treatments. The easiest way to remember is to take a photo of the rat bait box.
There are four types of common rat bait poison:
These rodenticides stop the production of Vitamin-K dependent blood clotting factors that are made in the liver. When these rat baits are ingested in a toxic amount we see signs of internal bleeding:
- Bruising on the body
- Bruising and/or bleeding gums
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the faeces
- Pale gums
- Trouble breathing
- Coughing (sometimes cough up blood)
- Vomiting up blood
Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)
This is becoming a very popular type of rat bait, but it is one that is scaringly difficult to treat and save your pet. Ingestion causes an extremely high calcium and phosphorus level in the body, resulting in severe, acute kidney failure.
- Reluctance to eat and loss of appetite
- Decreased or increased thirst
- Decreased or increased urination
- Smelly breath – halitosis
- Kidney failure
- Weight loss
This rat bait poison acts on the nervous system. After ingestion, this poison stops a metabolic energy pathway resulting in fluid build-up within the nerves. This then leads to disruption of the nerve and cerebral and spinal oedema.
This type of poison is particularly nasty as there is no antidote and the only thing vets can do is decontaminate and give supportive care.
- Depression, lethargy
- Walking drunk
- Hindlimb weakness or paresis
- Decreased proprioception
What to do if your dog eats rat bait poison
If you see your dog eat rat bait poison, or suspect they have eaten some it is important that you must take your dog to the vet immediately. That way we can make your dog vomit and hopefully remove as much of the offending poison as quickly as possible before it is absorbed and get it on the appropriate treatment.
The longer you wait, search Dr Google or try and ask friends on Facebook for advice, the more poison that will be absorbed and the greater the chance of more intensive and expensive vet care being required.
If you know what bait was eaten, take a picture of the box or better still take the box with you to the vet.
If you are in a remote area or have no access to a veterinary clinic, Dr Leigh and her team of online vets will be able to assist you at home. Our vets are available 24/7 for online vet consults.