By Gary Bogue
Friday, January 26th, 2007 at 7:57 am in Poison.
Welcome to my new blog site!
I published the following letter in my Thursday column in the Times. I’ve decided to also print it here in my blog to make sure those of you who don’t read my column will still get a chance to see it.
This information below may save the life of your cat or dog, no matter where you live on this planet.
(By the way, if you live out of the Contra Costa Times circulation area, you can still read my daily newspaper column at http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/living/columnists/gary_bogue/. My column runs Tuesday through Friday and Sundays.)
Gary: We have been seeing quite an increase in the number of dogs being exposed to or ingesting mouse or rat baits.
There are basically two types of bait. One is an anticoagulant type product such as brodifacoum, bromodialone, inadione, etc. This type has an antidote. The other product is bromethalin. This type has no antidote.
If exposed to either type and decontaminated (inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal) within a very short time, it usually prevents problems.
If there is questionable exposure there is a blood test, PT (prothrombin time), that is very accurate as to identifying whether exposure to the anticoagulant type occurred. This test may need to be repeated multiple times.
We have had quite a few cases that are already clinical. They may bleed anywhere and everywhere. But once they bleed its like opening up a faucet. If treated aggressively with dog plasma and Vitamin K, dogs tend to do OK if the problem is identified early.
Symptoms: If a pet were to ingest an anticoagulant type rat bait, one might see clinical signs three-plus days after ingestion. These signs could include bloody urine, bloody nose, bleeding from the gums, abnormal painful swellings, gastrointestinal bleeding, coughing up blood, or any abnormal bleeding at all.
If any suspicion arises a PT (prothrombin time) test can be done to identify it as the problem. If the PT is elevated a minimum treatment of Vitamin K is warranted and if bleeding is bad, blood transfusions or plasma may be warranted. The afflicted worsen quickly. Time is of the essence.
If a pet ingests the bromethalin type of rat bait, there is no specific test or treatment. They may exhibit either acute or chronic neurological changes. (Daryl K. Schawel DVM, Contra Costa Veterinary Emergency Center)
Daryl: “Time is of the essence.” In other words, if you think your pet has eaten poison rat or mouse bait, you need to get it to your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY for testing and treatment.
And just as important: don’t use poison rat or mouse baits on your property. Even if you don’t have dogs or cats, that stuff can also kill wildlife.
If you have to control rodents, use traps, and make sure they are set so they will only kill the target rodents.
Thanks for alerting us, doctor! Please let us know if you encounter any other problems of this type.