Post by Dr. Senthirajah
As you can imagine, very few people want rodents near their home. Thus, rodenticides are commonly used; as a result pets are at an increased risk of rodenticide ingestion.
How do Rodenticides Work?
The most common rodenticides encountered are anticoagulants, meaning they interfere with normal blood clotting mechanisms by disrupting recycling of Vitamin K. As a result, patients can bleed from any orifice, including internal body cavities; so it is important to bring them to a vet if there is any suspicion of ingestion. There are different types of these rodenticides, and some are stronger than others, so it is important to note what specific types may be on your property. If you happen to know which product your pet may have ingested, please bring it to the clinic, as it will give us valuable information.
What are the Clinical Signs?
Signs of rodenticide ingestion can vary depending on amount ingested, type ingested, and timing of ingestion. Your pet may experience difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, blood in urine and feces (their feces may even be blue or green from the toxin), pale gums, a bloated abdomen, or neurologic signs, etc. As you can see, signs can vary greatly!
What are the Diagnostics needed?
If we suspect or know your pet ingested rodenticides, depending on timing, we may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal orally to help reduce the amount of absorption. We may also call Animal Poison Control for further treatment recommendations. After we have stabilized your pet, we may recommend bloodwork to check to see if your pet has lost any blood and a clotting test to see if there are abnormalities. X-rays or an abdominal ultrasound may also be warranted. The results of these tests will dictate further treatment recommendations.
What are the Treatments?
Again, in an acute setting, we may induce vomiting and provide activated charcoal to bind the toxin. As rodenticides interfere with Vitamin K, we usually supplement patients with oral Vitamin K for about 30 days. We will likely recheck the blood tests after treatment to determine if additional medication is needed.
What can and should you do!
If you have rodenticides around your home, GET RID OF THEM. There are other ways to rid your home of rodents and since dogs are cats are curious critters, it’s not worth the risk! Also, be vigilant about what your pet may be eating in the yard, parks, etc. BUT, if your pet does ingest some, calm down, call us, and bring the packaging (if available) to the clinic. We will guide you through the process and get your pet on the right path.