Rat Poison (Rodenticide) Treatment In Dogs And Cats

Rat poison.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

If your pet is in any way exposed to modern rat poisons it is a medical emergency that you cannot put off. “Exposed” includes having been in the vicinity of the poison and you’re not sure whether he actually ate any or not.

Most of today’s rodenticides work by interrupting the body’s blood clotting systems, resulting in fatal bleeding. Even though they are called “rodent”-icides, they will kill any mammal that ingests them. Many rat poisons will also kill birds and fish.

The potency of rat poison has been ramped up dramatically over the last twenty years. “Poison corn” of three decades ago killed a lot of mice and rats, as well as many dogs, cats and not a few people. Still, if a victim was found quickly, vomiting was induced and anti-anticoagulant treatment was instituted for a week or so, the victim survived.

Not so today’s rodenticides. They can be fatal in extremely small amounts and their effect can last for thirty days and beyond.Treatment starts with removing the poison by inducing vomiting if it was ingested recently. While this can be a good test for whether poison was actually eaten, it is not foolproof. Poison eaten several hours before emesis (vomiting) therapy may have moved too far into the digestive tract to be vomited up. Further, because these poisons are effective in such small amounts, if a pet or person vomits some up we still don’t know whether he vomited all of the poison, and enough might be left behind that it could still be fatal.

 Therefore, the usual course of therapy after vomiting is to begin anti-anticoagulant therapy with an injection, followed by oral therapy for thirty days or more.

In cases where the ingestion time is unknown and the patient is already symptomatic (blood in the stool, urine and/or vomitus, bleeding under the skin, in the whites of the eyes, inside the eyes or other locations around the body), not only must anti-anticoagulant therapy be given but blood products must also be provided in case the patient has used up all of his own clotting mechanisms. When Jasmon came to see us today her owner had merely seen her standing over the area where a cake of rat poison was. There was none in her teeth and she vomited twice for us and we saw no trace of poison. Jasmon might have been fine with no further treatment at all, but waiting is simply too risky.

Waiting might have cost Jasmon her life.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

MMRODENT

275 Comments

  1. Thanks for operating this site. My 1.5 year old Nepali street dog got into rat poison about 30 hours ago. Thanks to your site I induced vomiting using hydrogen peroxide 10 minutes after her ingestion. I saw none of the pellets the maintenance staff laid out (we are currently in West Africa where a Lassa fever outbreak is going on so rat poisons are flying off the shelf). Long story short, vets are in limited supply here, I will try to find one tomorrow (Monday). In the meantime, I purchased two bottles of vitamin K1, unfortunately, it comes in micrograms. I fed this little girl (30 pounds) 150 tablets, or about 18 milligrams, of K1. I know that isn’t enough but if I am unable to find a doctor can I keep feeding her these vitamins? I’ll give her 200 tabs a day, each tablet is 100 mcg. I am so angry about this poison. I suspect I’ll begin seeing symptoms by Tuesday, which will be close to three days since ingestion.

  2. My cat got in to some poison pelts I don’t believe she ate it.she just carry it to my room should I still bring her to a vet or is there a way for me to treat her at home? I found out what type of poison it is Ithe deals with the nervous system it doesn’t affect the blood.

  3. hi doctor yesterday while I was cleaning my parents house my 3 1/2 month old pitbull puppy was wandering around the house and I noticed that she was munching on something green. there was green crumbs on the floor and I didn’t know what it was. about 45 minutes later I walked through the kitchen and noticed a green brick on the side of my moms fridge and immediately realized my dog had eaten mouse poison! I called the vet right away, mind you my puppy was acting perfectly fine! anyways when I called the vet I wanted instructions right away to get it out of her system so they told her to make her vomit with hydrogen peroxide. I gave her some and about 5 minutes later she went outside, had a b.m and urined and came inside and vomited. from what was in her vomit I thought she only ate a little bit of poison because there was green pieces but not much. the vet wanted me to take her in but I cant afford that and I don’t want them to keep her!so I called my father in law who instructed me to give her a bowl full of milk this will kill any poison and run it out of her, so I did that. we came home and she had diarrhea at about 1 am and 5 am both times with bunch of green stuff in it. so im pretty sure by now its all outta her but I guess ill just have to wait and see when she goes again. I guess I just wanted to ask if there was anything I can buy myself from the store with out having to take her to the vet? I cant afford taking her and I know they will keep her. I see a lot of posts talking about vitamin k, can I buy that myself and start her on it?

    • I don’t know of any non-prescription sources of Vitamin K, but, if you can find it, certainly you can administer it. I don’t understand your concern that your veterinarian might keep your dog. Your assessment of seeing “green” in your dog’s stool is probably just the opposite of ” so im pretty sure by now its all outta her.” On the contrary, it probably means that, having gone through the entire gastrointestinal tract, your dog has probably absorbed more than sufficient amounts to be fatal without treatment. Time is the most important factor. The more time that passes, the more danger exists and the poorer her prognosis becomes.

      • im sorry I thought this website was to seek advice from a professional like yourself. im trying to do everything I can do to help her. and what I meant by the vet keeping my dog is that obviously if u take your dog to the vet and get serviced but cannot pay they wont just return your animal to u they will take them to the shelter. I know that for a fact but thanks for your time Doc

        • It is beyond the purview of a veterinarian to seize one’s dog (or any other “property”) because of inability to pay. You can tell the doctor in advance how much you can afford. You can visit or call CareCredit.com to get a line of credit. You can borrow from friends or family. You can pawn something of monetary value. Regardless, the doctor is not going to keep your dog. He is not law enforcement. If all you can afford is an initial Vitamin K1 injection and a prescription for oral K1, it’s a start, and gives your dog a chance.

        • This is going to sound rude, so I apologize. But if you cannot afford to take your dog to the vet, especially during an emergency, then you should not own a dog. Simple as that.

      • My 1 almost 2 year old dog seems to have got into some rat poison and she has been fine playing and eating for past 2 days but also throwing up. Well tonight all of a sudden she starts throwing up liquid and breathing really hard. We have her milk with water added. And some treats. She is breathing not as hard now and is laying down. Do you think she will make it until morning?

        • Lindsey, unfortunately, it was morning before I got your comment. I hope that by now you have her at your veterinarian’s office and she’s getting proper treatment. Typically, these patients are tolerant of a few hours of delay, but I would never delay more than I had to, especially in the face of not knowing exactly when she ingested the poison and exactly when the symptoms began. Please write back and let us know how she is.

  4. I have a question my dog got in to rat poison last night it was about 12 hours till we could get her to a vet they gave her vitamin k1 and a shot of vitamin k will she be ok

    • In some patients there is more to treatment of rodenticide poisoning than Vitamin K1 administration. However, barring complications, you arrived within the window of safe treatment. The main things to do going forward are 1) be sure to give ALL of the oral medication prescribed, on the schedule given, and 2) watch for signs of ongoing bleeding, should they occur.

      • Hi Dr.

        The same thing happened to my Yorkie. We got him to the Animal Emergency they diagnosed him with the Vitamin K and the injections but today we are noticing that he cannot walk at all or control his hind legs even though he is constantly trying. His appetite is low and we have been force feeding him. He doesn’t even want to take the meds.

        • There is a lot more to treating rodenticide toxicosis than administering Vitamin K. Be sure he sees his veterinarian before he gets any worse, and write back with an update to let us know he’s OK. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  5. Doctor, I had a 5 year old pit bull mix die recently but not sure if it was rat poison or dog bloat? I let him out saturday afternoon and he came back around midnight. (We live out in the country) He seemed fine at first but later on it look like he had anxiety but slept fine. But in the morning he had trouble breathing, he was pacing back and forth trying to throw up but nothing came out. He was foaming in the mouth and had a enlarged stomach. We were going to take him to the vet right away but he collapsed right there and died. Everything happened so fast. We were devastated. I also want to add that he threw up a day before we let him out but he was fine afterwards. He did tend to throw up once in a while but we thought that was because of eating grass. Anyways, do you think this was poison?

    • I am sorry for your loss. Bloat is certainly a possibility, but there are so many other possibilities that, without examining the patient, any other comments would be pure conjecture. Dogs who go out an roam over a large area are subject to getting into anything. I’m sorry I couldn’t add more, but this case will just remain a mystery. Dr. Randolph.

  6. doctor, i have a female street dog that i adopted 3 months back i don’t know what happened she was playing in the lawn and when i came back to see her she didn’t move i thought she was tired but now its even worse i think she has swallowed something toxic and she is not eating anything not moving and is vomiting and there is blood in her stool. what should i do? wil she live?

  7. Doc, I have a large German Shepherd who got into rat poison in august 2014. It was 5 hours before I could get her to the vet. She received the standard treatment and Vitamin K for 3 weeks. I have had no trouble with bleeding. However, she began biting the hair off of her tail about 6 weeks later. This slowly spread to other parts of the body until she began biting every inch of flesh that she could reach. Being severely disable and poor, I could not get her to her vet until March of 2015. Blood work showed a Thyroid problem (T-4 deficiency). The medication he prescribed (I can’t remember the name) made no difference on her biting after 6 weeks. The drug caused her water consumption to triple and she almost stopped eating. I stopped that treatment, which cause those effects to begin reversing. Steroids have only made her worse, and the immune modulating molecules known as Nanno Factors, which are used in the treatment of auto-immune diseases, have also had no apparent effect. A bite collar can only do so much, and I need sleep. She also has had trouble using her hind legs. I have been giving her my own supply of BioCell, which is the most powerful repair nutrient known to medical science. But, even that has not led to a full recovery of her back legs. Please help.

    • My best advice is to seek a second opinion. I doubt there is a relationship between the rodenticide poisoning and the new behaviour. You might consider a board-certified dermatologist, but it will cost more than a regular practitioner. Explain to the specialist’s staff about your financial and physical condition and see if they have a program for helping pet owners in your situation. Please stay in touch so that we can know what the outcome of the examination and treatment. Best wishes, Dr. Randolph.

  8. Hi Dr Randolph,
    I discoverex this thread when researching poisoning. Our Brittany was exposed at a friends house to rat poisoning unbeknownst to us. After about six days she became very ill and we took her to the vet. Long story short winded up at the ER the same night and a specialist the next day. She received plasma and blood transfusions and vitamin K and one lung had collapsed due to being filled with blood. The specialist gave her only a 50-50 chance but she pulled through. We have had her home for about three days and she does appear to be gaining some energy and strength. But, her right side limbs are not working correctly. Her front arm is not working at all from the wrist down and floppy. Her rear leg the toes are curled under. So, she is unable to walk and we have got to take her out to go to the bathroom. She can bear weight on all four limbs by herself if we place the paws in the correct position. She’s wobbly when she does it but she can She wants to walk obviously and is feeling a little better so tries often but she can’t do it. Is this by any chance reversible over time or do you think this is permanent damage?

    • As I’m sure you’ve figured out, this doesn’t look good. It is most likely a neurological problem, and may have been caused by a blood clot or other embolus. Certainly, she needs to go back and be seen by one of her attending veterinarians. We wish you all the best, Dr. Randolph.

      • We did visit with the specialist/internal medicine Dr today. He feels like she will regain use of the limbs but that it will take time and he isn’t sure how long. He felt like it was an indicator of hemorrhage in her spine. I hope he is right! Thanks for your reply, thoughts and love of animals.

  9. Hi Dr.Randolph, I have already been to the veterinarian but I am still concerned about my 8 year old Dalmatian (however she is very tiny, only weighing 15 kg and I have been told that she is still too fat For her size!). Yesterday morning I found one of the rat sacks that I had left under the oven torn open with some crumbs but no traces of the actual rat pellets around it. I thought nothing of it at the time and left for work. When I can home I noticed that my dog was sleeping a lot more than usual so I was trying to figure out why when the rat poison came to mind. I’m not sure if she has actually ingested it so I took her to the veterinarian this morning just in case. The veterinarian took a blood sample but told me that the results wouldn’t be in until Monday as it is a Saturday. So he gave me some vitamin k tablets to last me until then for precaution. Tonight however after I gave her the vitamin k tablet and her dinner she vomited up all her dinner.I couldn’t see the tablet in the vomit. She seems to be fine and acting normal and she still has an appetite. I’m just worried that she might be ill from the poison, should I take her to the emergency veterinarian? The poison contains brodifacoum if that helps.
    Thank you in advance,
    Chloe

    • Chloe, as you’ve read, brodifacoum is one of the “bad players” in rodenticides, taking 30 days or more to rid its effects from the victim’s body. It instantly occurred to me while reading your story that the reason you didn’t find any pellets is that she ate them all. Rodenticides are VERY tasty to both dogs and rodents. While I wouldn’t be overly concerned about a single vomiting episode, monitor your Dalmatian carefully. She needs to maintain her water intake and appetite. If those fall off you have every reason to be concerned and to take her to the ER. Most importantly, though, watch for evidence of bleeding. You need to see every urination and defecation she has. Watch the whites of the eyes, the inside of the ear flaps (pinnae), and her underside (where there’s not much hair) for evidence of bleeding and/or bruising that might show up under the skin. Vitamin K alone cannot always control rodenticide poisoning that is advanced, so, if bleeding occurs she may need platelets and/or a transfusion. Please keep us posted on her progress. Best wishes, Dr. Randolph.

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