Mice and rat baits are beautiful to dogs and are unfortunately responsible for many cases of poisoning each year. How to recognize poisoning with rat poison in your dog and how to react if your animal has swallowed this type of product?
Rat poison: a name familiar to a wide variety of products
Rat poison comes in various forms: coated cereals, blocks that look like industrial dog treats, granules or even in paste form.
Alas, the variety is not only in the presentation of the poison but also in its composition. In Europe, there are two kinds of toxins authorized in suicide and rat poison products:
anti-vitamin K anticoagulants anticoagulant, which themselves include a wide variety of substances including coumadin (or warfarin), coumatetralyl, chlorophacinone, bromadiolone, difenacoum, brodifacoum, difethialone and flocoumafene. AnticoagulantsAnticoagulants prevent blood clotting by inhibiting the action of vitamin K. These products, therefore, lead to the death of rodents through massive haemorrhages. AnticoagulantAnticoagulant products are the most common.
Chloralose, most often used as a suicide. It is a central nervous system depressant with sleeping pills at low doses and fatal at higher doses.
What are the doses of toxic rat death in dogs?
The lethal dose of rat death depends on the nature of the substances that make up the product. However, regardless of their nature, signs of poisoning can occur in dogs as soon as a few grams of bait are ingested. It is, therefore, necessary to call your veterinarian or a veterinary poison control centre regardless of the quantity of poison eaten by the dog, even if it seems low to you.
What are the signs of rat poisoning in dogs?
Signs of poisoning depend on the nature of the rodenticide swallowed by the dog.
If anticoagulant-based rat poison is ingested, the first symptoms of poisoning do not occur until 48 hours and develop within 3 to 8 days of ingestion. The first signs are decreased appetite, weakness and sometimes a cough which then goes away. Then symptoms related to bleeding appear. It may be nosebleeds, blood in the stool or blood in the urine, blood leaking into a joint (lameness), anaemia which results in pale mucous membranes, difficulty respiratory and convulsions.
Left untreated, intoxication causes severe internal bleeding and progresses to coma followed by the animal’s death.
If a chloralose product is ingested, clinical signs appear much more quickly: within one hour of ingestion. The dog may present with hypothermia (drop in the body’s internal temperature) or, more rarely, hyperthermia, tremors, convulsions, excessive salivation, a worsening of the sensitivity of the senses called hyperesthesia and difficulty coordinating movements when moving around.
My dog ate rat poison: what to do?
If your dog has accidentally swallowed rat poison or if you think he has been the victim of a malicious act, take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic regardless of the amount ingested, and irrespective of the nature of the rat poison swallowed. Never try to make the dog vomit and give him something to eat or drink on your own.
If you can, take the package of the ingested product to the veterinarian to tailor the treatment to his nature. If you are unable to reach a veterinarian, contact a veterinary poison control centre.
If the animal is taken to the veterinarian very soon after ingestion, the latter can perform digestive decontamination to eliminate as much toxic as possible from the animal’s body.
In intoxication with anticoagulant products, the veterinarian may set up specific treatment for the poisoning by administering vitamin K to the animal. However, this antidote is only effective when the animal is already showing symptoms of poisoning. Therefore, its administration should be prolonged for 2 to 5 weeks.
In the case of chloralose poisoning, there is no specific antidote, but the veterinarian will treat the poisoning symptoms. However, the animal must imperatively be warmed to limit hypothermia, which can be fatal to the animal if left untreated.
The sooner the poisoning is dealt with by a veterinarian, the better the chances of survival will be for the animal.