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.



  1. My dog ate rat poison and rushed her to the vet didn’t know it at the time it was rat poison just started piecing together and was pretty except the Dr kept reassuring me it wasn’t because of their blood test and that she would have had to eaten 30 bars to have the symptoms she was having (heavy panting,coughing up blood,lung full of fluid,weak lethargic etc.. but when I got home was able to confirm that it actually was
    Rat poison! So was very irritated on that note! Anyhow I told them to just treat her andand I’ll take her home opposed to their overnight stay $1200.00 plan just for more tests! So they gave her 3 injections of antibiotics,steroids and diuretic and told me to watch her on the drive home she would probably start urinating uncontrollably, and she did and she gradually got better and was fully recovered within a week! Except the wetting the bed so I stopped the diuretic and weened her off the steroids and antibiotics but she still is wetting the bed! I’m going to take her to my usual vet this week the one Emergency after hours, I suspect possible kidney damage from the poison and am hopeful it’s not permanent! She is 14 1/2yrs old! But still very vibrant and full of energy! Please any sound advice would be much appreciated!!

  2. Hi I have 8week old puppy…lab/retriever cross I caught him with rat in his mouth..immediately took it out..I litterly follow him around.so was quick out.before could chew on it!!No idea in this area if this rat was poisend…he did not have chance to bite on it..no reaction of any kind yet. .but any thing natural like putting a bit of cayenne pepper and tumeric with his food tonight..like qwater teaspoon..or charcoal…just in case!?

  3. Hi. My dog ate a whole cube of rat poison, and I found her chewing it, but paid no mind. She already ate the whole thing before my Mom told me about the cube of Racumin she put under the bed. It’s late here, and the vets are already closed. I tried to feed her hydrogen peroxide, and she started vomiting a lot. There were traces of the poison on her vomit, but I just want to be sure. Will she be safe? Thank you.

  4. A kitten ate rat poison today n she is dying in from of me … I cant watch that, if there is any home remedy would u tell…. Im standing hopeless in front of that innocent n i can do nothing …. Please reply so that i don’t have to watch it again …

    • I’m so sorry. I wish there were a magic wand I could send your way, but rodenticide treatment is rather complicated, and there simply aren’t any shortcuts. If she is truly “dying,” euthanasia would be the kind route to take. I’m so sorry.

  5. My one year old lab picked up one of those black rat bait station boxs and took off with it. The box opened in her mouth and I was able to catch up to her and make her drop it. The contents(two green rat poison cubes) fell out of her mouth as well. The cubes were still completely whole other than one spot where it looked like a rat had been nibbling on it. It did not appear that she had bitten in to them but I induced vomitting anyways with hydrogen peroxide about twenty minutes after the incident. It was successful and it seemed like she threw everything in her stomach up. I examined her vomit and found no poison in it. I was wondering if even though she did not bite into the cubes, if just having them in her mouth was still dangerous and if I should get her to a vet. Or if she is at risk if she swallowed a few small crumbs that were left behind by a rat that might have fallen into her mouth when the box opened. Thank you!

    • Statistically speaking, your pet’s risk is probably low. HOWEVER, please don’t stop reading there. Let’s look at a risk-benefit ratio. If you take her to a veterinarian and 30 days of treatment is begun, you’ll be out a little bit of money, but you will have nearly guaranteed that she will live. Treatment is almost never associated with risk or complications. If you do nothing more that what you’ve already done, and the dose of anticoagulant she ingested is sub-lethal, you’re good. HOWEVER, we don’t have any way of knowing how much she ate. And, treatment is MUCH more problematic once a patient is symptomatic. To my way of thinking, if it were my own pet, I see treatment as the only option. Thank you for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  6. My daughter took her lab mix to a new vet last week to have a small mass removed from the dog’s foot. The dog came home and everything was fine until the next day when two stitches poped. Took the dog back to be restitched. When my daughter picked up the dog she was bleeding alot. They said it would stop but it didn’t. Took the dog back and they said her platlets were low and she needed a transfusion. Did the transfusion and now they are saying that she has been poisoned with rat poison and has to go through the treatment for that. This dog was perfectly healthly pryor to going to this vet. We have nine other dogs and none of them are sick or acting strange in any way. Could the vet have done something to her and are trying to cover it up. I think they did.

    • There may be a degree of miscommunication. Rat poison doesn’t cause platelet numbers to be decreased. IMTP does, however, and it’s entirely possible, even probable, that something triggered IMTP, and, thus, the bleeding. As far as, “Could the vet have done something to her and are trying to cover it up. I think they did,” I can’t think of any way to cause IMTP intentionally, or a reason one would want to. I think your veterinarian is faultless in this situation.

  7. Hello Doctor,

    I suspect that my cat ate a pebble or maybe a few of rat poison. He began to freak out and rolling on the floor. Then he stops as though everything is normal. Then it happens again in thr next 30 mins or hour. Maybe even two hours. I believe the poison is effecting his nervous system and not his blood. I live on an islanad in the Bahamas and I don’t jave access to a vet or any vitamin k. So yesterday I got a baby bottle and put milk in it with some charcoal and some seven seas oil because the seven seas has vitamin k on it. I feed it to him orally every hour or so. My question is, will he survive? It’s been 2 days.

    • It depends totally on the dose of poison he got. There isn’t enough vitamin K in the supplement to be therapeutic. Guess there’s a down side to living in paradise, isn’t there? Please write back and let us know how he is. Thank you for reading MyPetsDoctor.com, Dr. Randolph.

  8. So my Cocker Spaniel ate rat bait (The Big Cheese) 2wks ago & only got sick this wknd, no energy etc. She went to hospital & she had a fresh blood transfusion 3 days ago & had bleeding on her lungs etc. She is home now recovering & has absolutely transformed, breathing great again, full of energy, bouncing around, eating & drinking.She is on VitK tablets twice per day, still a little anaemic but Vet has said that’s to be expected.The only issue she has at the moment is diarrhoea, I’ve tried giving her white rice but she is reluctant to eat it.Is there anything else I can give her, I don’t want her to be losing valuable nutrients, I’ve heard you can give dogs Imodium??

    • You nearly lost your dog to poison. Now she has diarrhea. Why would you not immediately take her back to see her veterinarian to have the issue addressed? She is still healing; she is still vulnerable. She needs for you to do all you can do for her and do it right away. I am not going to be able to diagnose the cause of her diarrhea over the Internet. Without an accurate diagnosis, I am not going to be able to accurately recommend the medication she needs.

  9. We are currently doing some remodeling and I guess the workers found rat poison in the attic and put it in a box and left it on the floor. The rat poison has to be at least 13 years old as it must have been placed by the previous home owner. This morning we caught our 2 dogs eating it so we immediately called our vet and induced vomiting with peroxide and saw some particles in the vomit. He has started them on oral Vit K for a month and I gave the first dose today. He did not give them any injectable Vit K like I have read in some of the posts and the dosage is once/day…..is that OK? I keep reading about 2xday oral regimen. They weigh about 70 lbs and we are giving them 100mg/day. Do you know if the poison is less toxic if that old (we think it is about 13 years old? I sometimes give one of the dogs cimetadine for upset stomach- should I not give it while we are giving the Vit K- I was thinking it might interact with the effectiveness??? Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    • I don’t imagine anyone has done the experiments to find out whether old rat poison holds its anticoagulant properties. After all, why would they? So, you have little or no choice but to treat symptomatically. Some practitioners like to divide the Vitamin K dosage, others give it once daily. I’ve never read any medical reports that said there was a difference. I usually give an injection for the first dose, but the main reason is that I don’t see enough anticoagulant toxicity to keep oral Vitamin K on hand, so an injection gets the first dose in while the owner goes to pick up the oral medicine. As for the cimetidine I’d ask my veterinarian his thoughts, as he’s the doctor who is treating. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

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