Over the past 6 weeks we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of rat bait toxicity in dogs through our clinics. Both rat and mouse baits (also known as rodenticides) are toxic to cats and dogs. There are many different rat bait products on the market, with the most common form being pellets and it has been found that dogs can potentially eat large quantities! Other formulations are wax blocks and even liquids.
In the same way that rat baits cause the death of mice and rats, the rodenticides result in the inability of both dogs and cats to clot their blood, resulting in life-threatening anaemia. The problem is that signs of toxicity may not be seen for several days after the poisoning has occurred, so if you have not seen your pet eat the poison, signs to look out for are:
- Weak, cold, tired, lethargic
- Pale gums
- Blood in urine/faeces
- Nose bleeds
If you know your pet has ingested any type of rat bait, please call us immediately for advice. Treatment is generally to induce vomiting, then to give activated charcoal to help absorb any residual poison. Other treatments are available if ingestion was not recent, but this must be discussed with your veterinarian. It’s also vital to bring or record the products that your pet has ingested – this has a huge effect on the dose of antidote used.
There is also a chance that no treatment will be available should your pet become poisoned. Here are some tips on how to protect your pets:
- Put the life of your pet ahead of the pest problem – DON’T USE RAT/MOUSE BAITS. Ignore anything on a poison packet (rat or snail) that says pet deterrent and claiming that pets won’t eat it. They usually WILL eat them. So it’s safer not to buy them.
- Old hidden (uneaten) baits are just as toxic as freshly placed baits so if they’ve been put down in the past – find them and remove them.
- If your pets are visiting / staying with friends or relatives over the holidays – ensure they have no baits hidden.
- Do not allow your pet to roam – they may find someone else’s bait
- Consider ‘pet-safe’ alternatives for rodent control
– electronic mouse traps
– traditional mouse traps
– Pet safe bait stations
– Ratsak Natural