As we enter into the cooler months of winter, the regions mice populations follow us into our houses. With this sudden influx of rodents many people choose to introduce rat baits onto their properties. What lots of people fail to realise is that mice and rats aren’t the only creatures tempted by these scented “treats”. Many of these baits are appealing to cats and dogs, and like mice they become affected by the poison and can potentially die.
How does rat bait affect your pet?
There are many different types of rat baits available on the market, but the most common forms, and the ones this article will focus on here are the vitamin K antagonist drugs including warfarin (Ratsak, Ratblitz), brodfacoum (Talon, Klerat) and bromadiolone (bromakil) . Once ingested these drugs prevent the animals blood from clotting by binding to and using up the important clotting component vitamin K. When vitamin K is not present the animals blood is unable to clot, this means that when a blood vessel is damaged it will continue to bleed. A small knock or bump can lead to the animal loosing a potentially fatal amount of blood.
What signs will your pet show if affected by rat bait?
It usually takes approximately 1-3 days from time of ingestion until clinical signs will begin to be seen in your dog. These signs include:
- struggling to breath
- white gums
- swellings on body
- bleeding from nose
What should you do if you suspect your animal has ingested rat bait?
If you see your dog eating rat bait or believe they have recently ingested rat bait bring the dog to the clinic immediately! If the dog is seen by a vet within an hour of ingestion the vet may be able to make the dog vomit up the ingested substance before it is absorbed. If your dog is showing any of the clinical signs listed above and they have been in an area that you know has baits present you should bring them to the clinic immediately as they may be bleeding internally. If brought in quick enough we are able to give animals extra vitamin k so that their blood can clot again.