Types of Rat Poison:
- Anticoagulants (active ingredient may be brodifacoum, bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, warfarin, or other chemical) These rodenticides are the most common type ingested by dogs. They kill by interfering with the body's ability to recycle vitamin K, an essential part of clotting. Internal bleeding occurs throughout the body, eventually killing the animal. It may take two to seven days for the effects of this poison to appear.
- Bromethalin increases the amount of sodium in the cells of the body followed by an influx of water to the cells. The cells swell and die. This toxin can affect any organ of the body, but most commonly affects the central nervous system (brain, spine, nerves). Signs of toxicity may progressively appear over one to two weeks if only a small amount is consumed. This poison is usually rapidly fatal if a large dose is consumed.
- Cholecalciferol ingestion causes there to be an increased amount of calcium in the body. This leads to acute renal failure, cardiac abnormalities and possibly death. The signs of this poison may not develop for 12-36 hours after ingestion.
- Zinc Phosphide and Strychnine rodenticides are only available to professionals and are less commonly ingested by dogs.
If Your Dog Eats Rat Poison:
If you suspect that your dog has consumed rat poison, you must call a veterinary clinic IMMEDIATELY. A veterinarian or veterinary technician will advise you how to proceed. In most cases, you will need to get your dog to the vet clinic right away. If the poison was recently ingested, your vet may recommend that you induce vomiting (however, the vet might have you get your dog to them immediately so they can rapidly induce vomiting at the clinic).Before heading to the vet, gather the following things:
- Rodenticide product packaging (if available)
- The remainder of the poison (if any remains)
- Information about the amount of poison you think your dog consumed and how long ago ingestion occurred
After inducing vomiting (if the poison was recently consumed), your vet will begin the appropriate treatment. In some cases, a substance called activated charcoal is administered by mouth. Activated charcoal prevents toxins from being absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Depending on the time of poison ingestion and the amount ingested, your vet may need to run diagnostic tests and perform additional treatments. Your dog may need to be admitted to the hospital for advanced tests and treatments. The prognosis depends on the type of chemical in the rat poison, the amount eaten and the time that has passed since ingestion. Unfortunately, the prognosis is usually poor if the dog is already showing advanced signs of toxicity.
Remember, time is of the essence after a dog has eaten rat poison. Do not wait to contact a veterinarian.
Preventing Rat Poison Toxicity:
Bear in mind that your dog may find a way to consume rat poison or another toxin without your knowledge. Be sure to contact your vet appropriately when your dog shows signs of illness. In addition, maintain a good relationship with your vet through communication. It's all part of keeping your dog healthy.