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 8 week old basset hound puppy had to be put down because he had ingested rat poisoning. I had old had him for less than 3 days at the time and I rushed him to the emergency vet because he was breathing really heavy and his gums where pale. And when we got there the vet had no idea what it was. And neither did I so they did xrays and with xrays the found his lungs and abdomen full of liquid and from there they did an exploratory surgery and found the liquid was blood and that he had rat poison in his large intestine. We dont have any rat poison in our house or around our house and the “breeder” we had got him from said they didn’t have any either. And I dont know if I believe them. How long ago would he have had to ingested the rat poison for it to be in his large intestine?

    • We are so sorry for the loss of your puppy, especially a brand new puppy. Transit time for ingesta can vary, but material in the colon would have been ingested within the last 24-72 hours, on average. Our condolences, Dr. Randolph.

  2. My 53lb Standard Poodle swallowed rat poison. We took her to the vet, they found it in her puke, and gave her the first K1 shot. The vet then sent us on our way to the ER, where they gave him anti vomit meds, and charcoal Drink. We were then prescribed the rest of the dosages and was at home. Since then we were only able to give him 2/3 charcoal drinks bc he threw up twice after second dose. (called the vet) they recommended us to hold off on the third, and now a few hours later I was trying to give him his K1 with food and he is not eating. I can force it down his throat, but I am worried. Is this typical behavior for them after this medicine regimen? Or should I be packing up and on my way to the ER again?

    • After inducing vomiting it isn’t unusual for patient to lose their appetites. However, that loss of appetite should not persist. If it does, you’ll definitely want to see her doctor again. And, consider sticky traps for controlling rodents. Please write back and let us know how she’s feeling today. Thanks for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  3. Hi, my 6month old dog suddenly came down I’ll. I took her straight to the vets and he suspected rat bait poisoning (racumin brand was used nearby). I told him the likely brand and he did a blood test to confirm. At the time her symptoms were pale gums (so anemic), lethargy, and increased effort respiration. The vet gave her one dose of vitamin k and said we should leave her there overnight. We did this thinking she was in the best care possible. Unfortunately this was not the case. They took her and put her in a cage and she received no further care and died 8+ hours later. I’m so distraught as she was a beautiful dog and I think the vet should have done more, blood transfusion, oxygen, fluids etc. I want to know how you would have treated a dog presenting symptomatic already.

  4. Hello Doctor:
    My Jack Russell was found to have consumed an anticoagulant rat poison (brofiacoum) Saturday and was taken to the Emergency Vet Sunday with pale gums. No signs of external bleeding. The vet is giving her Vitamin K but I understanding it’s a long treatment process and there is a lot of “wait and see.” I am not very familiar with this vet and don’t have the level of trust I have with my normal vet, so I am very concerned but too afraid to stop treatment and move her to my vet. My questions is regarding prognosis. I can’t seem to find any good news on reversal of poisoning in such a small dog. It’s my understanding she could be in danger for months even with K1 treatment. Can you share your honest assessment of survival post exposure? Thank you for your help!

    • Here are some things to consider: 1, You can always call your veterinarian and discuss the emergency hospital’s treatment protocol and discuss your concerns with him. 2, Treatment of anticoagulant toxicity is much, much more than just stopping the anticoagulant’s activity. If a patient bleeds, whether internally or externally, blood loss must be addressed and coagulation must be supported. The patient must be kept hydrated and his electrolytes must be in balance. A lot goes on. 3, Prognosis can be considered to be “all over the map,” as some dogs eat a little poison, get treated right away and do fine. Other dogs eat a lot of poison and don’t get treated immediately and their prognosis is not as good. Then, there are cases across the spectrum in between those two scenarios. My experience has been that most dogs don’t eat much and the patients I’ve seen in almost 4 decades get treatment right away and do well. Not everyone falls into that category. Please do write us back and let us know how she is. Thank you for reading, Dr. Randolph.

  5. Hi,
    I have a GSD pup who is 3 months old. Her name is Wanda.
    My dog was open in the yard during the night and in the morning I saw a packet of rat poison flying around. I suspected ingestion but then my family told it was very less and almost empty. Later that day Wanda refused to eat porridge for her day meal. So I gave her pedigree and she refused that as well.
    Then I spoke to a vet, and here I must tell you we don’t have good facilities in the city. He started treating her for indigestion. Hitherto, we didn’t see any signs of blood in stools, just and incident of loose motion and a vomit. The medication given to her orally was Pantoprazole, Ondansetron and Ofloxacin, Ornidazole. She still didn’t eat anything and was vomiting at a faster rate.
    Then we gave the same thing through IV in the morning as she wasn’t eating anything and was getting weak.
    Later in the evening there was a bloody stool. I told this to the doctor and we immediately gave her VitaminK shot and Revici injection. She came back and slept
    All this while she was just drinking water. In the morning she drank water, a lot of it and then puked again. Then there was a smelly bloody loose stool which was very red and had good amount of blood in it. I took her to the hospital and in addition to the the above mentioned treatment, we gave her Botropase and Taxim. She came back and passed bloody stools twice.
    In the evening we have another DNS solution and she came back and slept till morning.
    (Monday – Today)
    I took her again and gave the same thing through IV minus Botropase. She passed a loose stool but it has very less amount of blood I think.

    All this while she has been walking on her own. Alert and responsive most of the times.
    Can I say she is improving. What are the signs of improvement. What to do next ?

    • Maintain supportive therapy and aggressive vitamin K therapy for at least 30 days. When she is eating again you can switch to oral vitamin K therapy. Thanks for reading. Please write back and let us know how she does. Dr. Randolph.

  6. Hello Dr. Randolph,

    I have a 6 month bulldog that got into a rat poison sack the other night on Saturday. We called the emergency vet and he came to the house and induced vomiting within 1.5 hours of ingestion. He also gave her a vitamin K shot and has us give her charcoal orally for 2 days, twice a day. I followed up with another regular vet on monday and received Vitamin K pills which we have been giving her every morning. She is doing fine, eating, playing, and acting normal however her eyes are very bloodshot. She is a french bulldog and they have always been a little bloodshot but they seem even more after the incident. My regular vet said it was nothing of concern but I want to be sure. Thank you in advance for your insight.

    • Elizabeth, if the blood is INSIDE the vessels, it means your puppy doesn’t have a bleeding problem. NOTE: that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an eye problem! If the blood is OUTSIDE the vessels, it means you have a MAJOR problem with bleeding. Be sure to keep your local veterinarian notified, as she needs both of her eyes!

  7. Hi, our 10 mo old Labradoodle ingested D-Con (brodifacoum) 5 days ago, we got her to the hospital within a hour and they induced vomiting. The vet found a good amount of poison in her vomit. They did not give her charcoal nor did they give her the K1 Injection, they did have K1 oral medication on hand and we were able to give her her first dose within an hour. They prescribed her with a 30 day treatment and dosage of 62.5mg divided PO q 12h, which we have been administering since. This seems to be the appropriate dosage (she weighs 12.9kg) wanted to double check? They tested her blood (PT test) on day 1 after the ingestion and her clotting times were normal.
    Today 5 days since ingestion we found blood in her stool (this is the only symptom we have seen) and took her back to the vet and drew blood for another PT test. I am wondering if the PT test even helps at this point as she is on the K1? Also I am wondering if there is anything else we should ask the vet to do? Should she get an x-ray to check for internal bleeding? The vet didn’t seem concerned with the bleeding unless it was still present 24hrs from now. We live in the city and our vet admitted she hasn’t treated rodenticide poisoning in years. Just wondering if there is anything else we should be doing or should get a second opinion? I know the first week can be the most critical. Thank you

    • It sounds as if your veterinarian is right on top of things. PT is the correct test, and you are wise to continue to be watchful. The dose of oral Vitamin K is good. X-rays would not show blood unless the bleeding were massive. IF the bleeding were massive, she would be symptomatic. Watch to be sure there is no more poison hidden anywhere. Thanks for reading http://www.MyPetsDoctor.com.

  8. My 14 lb mini-poodle licked a plastic bag that contained an unused plastic mouse bait trap. Earlier, the bag was inside a larger bag that contained the cakes of poison, so the surface he licked had been in contact with, and smells like, the poison. I’m certain he did not have any contact with the cakes of poison, but he may have licked invisible traces off the plastic bag. Do you think we should induce vomiting or take him to the vet? It’s the weekend, so emergency vet is our only option. Thank you very much.

  9. Hey, Dr. Randolph. About six days ago, our dog ate two first strike soft bait green/blue things and was taken to the vet within 2 hours. They induced vomiting and a lot of the poison came out. The next step was to give him 12.5 mg of vitamin K tablets every 12 hours for the next 30 days as a “precaution.” He is currently on the meds and is showing no signs of bleeding or any other symptoms but I keep reading around about this poison and sometimes it can take up to weeks for it release and do damage. So I am a bit worried even though he looks good, and is on the therapy. I just wanted some of your thoughts. Thanks.

    • Assuming the product he ingested was an anticoagulant rodenticide, you should have few worries. “it can take up to weeks for it release” is why you’re administering 30 days of medicine. Don’t quit before the month is up, and continue to examine him daily for evidence of bleeding. The best places to look are the skin of the lower abdomen, whites of the eyes and the “out” side of the pinnae. Thanks for reading http://www.MyPetsDoctor.com.

  10. Hi today my dad found my dog with a block of rat poison inside her mouth she was also stuck in a sticky mouse trap she is not showing any side effects like vomiting etc she was eating and playing just fine but I am still worried

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