Rodenticides have always been a common toxin in dogs and cats. Due to their prevalence and potency many pets would encounter them on a regular basis both outside and inside the house, as well as by eating prey that had recently ingested the poison. Rodenticides are made to be tempting to small animals and thus have no bitter taste or odor- making them all the more tempting for our furry friends.
Traditional rodenticides such as d-Con are known as LAACs (Long-Acting Anti Coagulants.) These types of poisons work by preventing the blood from clotting. If left untreated your pet will begin to exhibit symptoms of a clotting problem which can include bleeding from the nose, mouth or anus, bruising, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, coughing and difficulty breathing due to internal bleeding. These symptoms do not usually appear right away and can take up to five days to appear. The amount of poison necessary to cause adverse affects depends upon which specific drug has been ingested. For this reason it is always important to bring the packaging of whatever type of poison your pet has had access to when you bring them to the veterinarian. Treatment for ingestion of LAACs is Vitamin K. If the ingestion is caught early enough an immediate injection of Vitamin K and 30 days of oral treatment at home will often allow for a full recovery.
One of the newer versions of rodenticide is called Bromethalin. Instead of acting upon the body’s ability to coagulate blood this toxin acts upon the brain, causing it to swell. Symptoms of this toxin include incoordination, tremors, seizures and paralysis. The symptoms of Bromethalin poisoning occur very quickly, usually within 2 hours, but can also be delayed for as long as 36 hours. This type of poison is extremely deadly due to its activity as a neurotoxin coupled with its quick onset and lack of antidote. The Vitamin K used to treat LAACs will be ineffective in these situations. Supportive care including immediate induction of vomiting, administration of activated charcoal and IV fluids as well as critical monitoring for at least 36 hours are imperative if you suspect your pet has ingested Bromethalin.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested any sort of rodenticide call your veterinarian immediately and remember to bring the packaging for the product with you- your pet’s life could depend on it.