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Rodent poisons can kill your pets

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 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.

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3 Responses to “Rodent poisons can kill your pets”

  1. Ilona Peckham Says:

    Several years ago I bought an old farm house which had been vacant and was seriously overrun with deer mice. I have dogs, and knew mouse/rat poisons are deadly for them, but had been told that the real concern was simply to make sure bait was placed in areas (or containers) totally inaccessible to pets. I think the bait I used was called “Decon” (I’m not sure which “variety” of poison this is…?), and consisted of turquoise-colored pellets, which I set out in areas in the garage to which the dogs had no access. I replenished the pellets as needed (they disappeared quickly!)

    I was pleased with the noticeable decrease in mice running around, UNTIL I started finding stashes of turquoise pellets all around other areas of the property (in the corners of my patio chair seats in the back yard – to which the dogs had complete access, inside my bowling bag – via a tiny hole chewed in the side, and including the dessicated bodies of several mice, etc.). I instantly stopped putting out bait, but today, five years later, I still have to be aware and vigilant. I recently had my kitchen remodeled, and when the contractor tore out the old walls to expose the studs, there were turquoise pockets of bait still “stored” here and there throughout the structure. At the least, I had to emphasize very careful cleanup, and disposal of the construction debris. REALLY SCARY!!

  2. Jillian Winch Says:

    We found 3 blue cubes on our lawn today and when we confronted the neighbor, he said that he uses them to kill mice and the mice must have carried them onto our property. We have a cat. Is our neighbor trying to poison our cat?

  3. Gary Bogue Says:

    Jullian: When you leave out rat/mouse poison, these rodents will sometimes carry the poison bait to a new spot and leave it. That’s why I do NOT recommend using the nasty stuff. Cats can find the poison, innocent wildlife (raccoons, opossums, foxes, squirrels etc.)can find it … and you might remind your neighbor that even kids could find those “pretty” blue cubes and that is NOT a good thing. /Gary

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