Long-Term Prognosis For Rat Poison Cases Is Good

Rachita writes: Do most dogs that recover from rat poisoning, do so completely and without any long-term residual symptoms? In addition, do any precautions need to be taken when she is taken back home and is with her sister (who is healthy, no ingestion of poison)?   Thanks again for all your efforts here!  (For the full text of Tikki’s story click on this link and scroll down to the COMMENTS section.)

Rachita’s dog, Tikki,

Tikki is on her way to healing after ingesting rat poison.
Tikki is on her way to healing after ingesting rat poison.

ingested a rodenticide while Rachita was out of town and her dog was staying with her parents. (Can you imagine the grandparent guilt?) There is special cause for concern in Tikki’s case because blood was discovered in the lungs during examination at the local emergency hospital.

In Tikki’s case, not only was vitamin K1 administered, but an infusion of plasma was also required. Plasma administration is especially helpful when clotting factors have been exhausted from the bloodstream. It takes time for the liver to begin to produce its own clotting factors, whereas providing exogenous plasma (from a local donor dog or purchased from a blood bank) allows the body to resume clotting at a near-normal level very quickly.

If rodenticide continues to be active in the body, plasma administration may have to be repeated.

Once a rat-poison patient is “out of the woods,” long-term prognosis becomes good.  The degree of danger up to that point depends on a variety of factors including type of rat poison, duration of poisoning prior to treatment, effectiveness in removing rodenticide from the body. Other variables include patient specifics such as age, preexisting health problems and response to treatment.

Potential complications include pneumonia in Tikki’s case because blood is a good culture medium and the warm, moist lungs make a good place for infections to grow.

If a dog or cat bleeds so greatly as to deprive the brain of oxygen for a significant period of time, certain neurological problems may occur after recovery. Seizures and loss of mental acuity could also occur.

Rachita, breathe easy. Tikki sounds like she is well on her way to recovery. She is getting all the right treatments, and now you must be faithful on followup medicine and testing to ensure that she will be free from relapses.

Click on “Rodenticide Poisoning” under the Categories listings on the right side of this page.  Read all of the posts, including the Comments in order to glean all of the information you need to ensure that your pet’s care is done correctly and completely.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

MMRODENT

21 comments

  1. sean says:

    a friend of mine had taken her 2 dogs for a trail walk mid 2017
    both dogs were off leash since there was no one else around.. her male dog had got a little bit of distance from his owner. he went over a small hill and out of site only for about 30 sec
    she called his name as she was coming over the top of the hill,did not see him right away but then had noticed him about 15 feet away laying on his side twitching and shaking uncontrollably and foaming at the mouth.. she had noticed a small white cloth close to his head.
    she quickly picked him up and headed back to the car which was only a short distance away ,
    loaded him in and started driving to the local vets .
    sometime along the way he had stopped breathing .
    somehow they got him inside and brought him back to life , she was told that he had been poisoned
    and they wanted to keep him over night..
    back the next day the owner was told that he was not in pain
    but what ever he got into will eat away at his brain cells over time.
    and may have to put him down at some point.
    what ever it was will also break down his immune system and he will experience different problems

    what type of poison would cause gradual long term effects?
    random different personality .
    randomly going to the bathroom inside when this was never an issue in 6 years.
    always wanting to drink a lot of water.
    can not eat anything without getting sick “unless it is at a higher level so he does not have to tilt his head down”
    randomly walks into things ,doors,walls, and not really even flinching .
    recently he has attacked the house cat when not even once has there been any issues between the 2 in over 5 years.
    the owner even says there is a different look in his eyes.. “it’s just not the same”
    he has only once shown aggressiveness towards his owner after the cat incident which was recent .

    he is a beautiful blue merle Australian shepherd
    the owner also has the mother
    and i own the sister to him 😉 its sad to see whats happening to him ,

    • What a heartbreaking story! It’s clear that whatever happened to him did central nervous system damage. Interestingly, some CNS injuries can improve with time, just as people with brain bleeds sometimes regain function. I’ll say a prayer for him, and all of you who grieve for him. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  2. Troy Walters says:

    I came home and noticed my dog got into a bag of decon rodent poison. I took the bag and my dog to the vet that same day. They told me there was nothing they could do there is no antidote and gave me some medecine to help with his diahrea. Now its been a little over 2 weeks. He seemed fine until now and now he is throwing up really bad . The vet never mentioned Vitamin K1. Is it to late to try and get it for him now?

    • There is a form of rodenticide for which there IS no antidote. Vitamin K1 works only on anticoagulant rodenticides. You should be in touch with your pet’s doctor about the vomiting and diarrhea, which may be a separate issue. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  3. PK Dennis says:

    This past July my Cairn/Chi mix dog escaped from my fenced yard and apparently found rat poison (a horse barn down the road?) unbeknownst to me. Five days later, after a battle with a young ground hog, he started to bleed heavily from the mouth. Two plasma transfusions and 30 days of Vit. K followed. His clotting factor is normal. During the month plus of treatment I noticed that he had lost 1 1/2 pounds from his normally 13 pound body. I increased the amount of food I was feeding (I feed a home made raw diet using Steve Brown’s recipe) and added ‘silk balls’ to his diet to increase his calories (I keep my dogs very slender, so 13 pounds really is where his weight needs to be). Just this week (November) he hit the 13 pound mark. Since it took so long to get his weight back, I am wondering about long term effects of having been exposed to the rat poison – should I be checking kidney and/or liver function a few times a year for the rest of his life? He is 8 years old, and taking so long to get his weight back to normal has me wondering about long term effects.

  4. Brenda says:

    My miniature Schnauzer ate rate poison when she was about 4 months old. We didn’t realize how dire this was for 5 days. I am happy to say that we did get her to the hospital and she responded well to the treatment. Our little girl has been happy ever since. In June (15 months after the rat poisoning incident) we had her spayed. In the 24 hours after her surgery she had two seizures. A month later we went out of town and had to board her. In the 24 hours after the boarding she had two seizures. I have read that dogs can have anxiety related seizures and given the timing that is what we suspected. This week our baby had 4 seizures in a 24 hour period. We took her to the emergency room. They gave her a shot for epilepsy and have prescribed oral medication for the same. The shot was yesterday afternoon and she hasn’t had a seizure since. In one of the posts it said “If a dog or cat bleeds so greatly as to deprive the brain of oxygen for a significant period of time, certain neurological problems may occur after recovery. Seizures and loss of mental acuity could also occur.” I realize there was a lot of time between the poisoning and the onset of seizures, but do you think the seizures might be related to the poisoning?

    • I believe that, if your dog had hypoxia to the brain over a year ago, you’d have been seeing problems long before now. I suspect (but can’t verify) that her seizure tendency was inherited from one or both parents, and was bound to show up sooner or later. It’s simply a stroke of bad luck. I also don’t believe there is an actual syndrome of anxiety-related seizures. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  5. Alison Bender-Williams says:

    Hello, our 14 week old puppy got into some D-con anticoagulant rodenticide (active ingredient: diphacinone) and received a plasma transfusion and Vitamin K injection after showing clinical signs on day 4. She has since regained her energy and is back to being a happy, healthy puppy. She has been on the Vitamin K treatment for almost a week now, but the one question nobody (including our vet) can seem to answer is this: how precarious of a situation is she still in and how long until she is out of the woods? I’ve read online that she should not get any bumps or scrapes for the next month or two (while she is in treatment), but she is an active puppy that runs and jumps and plays. Could she still bleed internally from running and jumping if she is currently on the Vitamin K? Also, how long should we expect to be on the Vitamin K therapy if she ingested diphacinone? Thank you for any information!

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi my dog is at vet now with rat poison have no idea how he injested it they only time he could have had it was 9 days ago as that was the only time he was on his own in the yard but vet put him on vitamin k 2 hours a ago and also gave him a drip and there was been no change good or bad it’s taking 3 min for his bleed to clot before injection

  7. ChatKat says:

    My dog was rat poisoned and has gone through 4 weeks of Vitamin K1 and has been given a clean bill of health. However, he is now losing his hair. Is this a cause of the poison and if so will it grow back??? Thanks.

    • I have never seen hair loss after rodenticide toxicity. I suggest making an appointment with your veterinarian to have this problem properly diagnosed and treated. Thanks for reading our blog, Dr. Randolph.

  8. Huntie1 says:

    Hi, my 20 week old puppy ate rat poison 3 days ago. Fortunately she was caught in the act and was at the veterinarian’s office within 15 minutes. She was given an injection to make her vomit and the poison was seen. She vomited until her stomach was empty. She was then treated with vitamin k injections and sent home. Since then I’ve read various posts about the long acting poison. I’m really worried that, despite her being completely back to her normal self, that she may not be out of danger. The veterinarian didn’t give her any oral meds to go home as they think she vomited all the poison and explained there are side effects from them. Could you please tell me when the danger is over? She’s a black dog so can only really check her gums for any signs of bleeding. Thanks

    • While it could be designated “an abundance of caution,” I always treat for 30 days on the possibility that there could be more rat poison in the body. It takes so little to cause so much damage. The risk of 30 days of Vitamin K1 is extremely low, and the cost is minimal. I suspect that if you told your veterinarian that you would feel better with 30 days of oral treatment, he would be glad to oblige. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  9. Jill says:

    My 13-year old cat Ted was acting lethargic and blood tests showed rat poison. His veterinarian gave him Vitamin K1 and intravenus fluids. He didn’t seem to be responding after three days so gave him a blood transfusion from his brother. Next morning he was much more responsive and had a bowel movement. I have brought him home for tonight. His blood level is 17, up from 13 two days ago. He will not eat or drink and very wobbly on his feet. Any suggestions and thank you for all your posts.

  10. Jess says:

    Hi, my dog was recently rat-poisoned and has had his last injection today. However he has a very blocked nose, and keeps trying to blow “stuff” out. Very harsh coughing and breathing. The stuff is a murky brown blood-tinged snot. Is this normal for a dog on recovery road?

  11. Rachita says:

    Thats excellent news Dr. Randolph! Thank you for taking the time to address my concerns. It has been about 4 days since Tikki came back home from the emergency animal hospital and slowly but surely, she appears to be healing. She was even able to eat most of her food and walk a little bit today (although she is still very weak and her physical activity is being monitored). Thankfully she is a fan of her medication because it comes hidden in a dollop of peanut butter, so we’re hoping she will be back to her usual playful self in a few weeks.

    • Thank you for loving that baby, Rachita. She’s a beauty and she’s very fortunate that you are giving her such excellent care. Keep us posted on her progress. Thanks for the reply, Dr. Randolph.

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