Rat Poison and Your Pets
There are heaps of mice around NSW at the moment and there are heaps of rat bait being put out to deal with them. Rat bait poisoning can occur if pets eat rat bait they find or mice that have eaten the poison (we call this secondary poisoning). All animals can be affected, including dogs, cats, ferrets and cheeky birds. We also treat affected wildlife, especially after secondary poisoning, including owls, kookaburras and eagles.
How many poisoned mice are too many? It is difficult to predict how many mice need to be eaten to cause secondary poisoning in another animal. It is influenced by the size of the mouse/rat, and the size of the other animal, as well as when it was eaten and what sort of poison was eaten in the first place. There is no safe number, but we can check blood tests to see if your pet has been affected. It is important not to deliberately feed mice that may have had poison to other animals, for example captive snakes.
Rat bait can have many colours (blue, green, red, tan) and shapes (blocks, pellets, granules). There are also many different forms of poison used in rat bait, and this changes the effect it has on animals. Your pet can be best treated if we know which poison was eaten. The poison can’t be identified by just looking at it, so if you are concerned that your pet has eaten bait, please bring the poison, packaging, or photo of it so that the veterinarian can best tailor treatment for your pet.
For many pets that eat rat bait, they look fine for a few days (3-7 days). However, as the poisoning happens, the first signs are vague and can include tiredness, exercise intolerance, and refusal to eat. As the poisoning progresses, your pet may show pale or white gums, weakness, bleeding from the nose or mouth, breathing difficulty, coughing, bruises, swollen eyes, abdominal swelling, bloody vomiting or diarrhoea, constipation or even lameness. Worse, some patients can progress to unconsciousness, and even death.
If your pet has recently eaten rat bait, often we can give medication to cause vomiting and eliminate the poison. For dogs this medication usually goes in the eye and can make the tears green for a day or so. For cats, injections work best. This is best done as soon as possible, and ideally within 4 hours. The veterinary team can run blood tests to determine if your pet’s blood clotting function has been compromised by an anticoagulant (like rat bait). Some pets will need medications to reverse effects of the rat bait, like Vitamin K, or x-rays to see if there is blood accumulation internally. In severe cases, blood or plasma transfusions can be required. If your pet needs intensive care after rat bait poisoning, be prepared to rest them from intensive work like stock work, or agility, for a few weeks and until they get the all clear from further tests.
But how should we deal with frustrating mice? Mouse traps and enclosed bait stations can make it safer for other animals while you try to manage mouse infestations. Remember that pets can be very sneaky in how they can get to rat bait, and rat baits are made to be tasty! Rats and mice can also move poison out of bait stations, but the waxy blocks in bait stations make that harder. Be upfront with the team if your pet is scheduled to have surgery and may have had access to rat bait or poisoned mice prior- we can do simple blood tests beforehand to minimise the risk of major complications.
If you suspect poisoning;
- Please call the clinic immediately. We offer a 24hours emergency service so we can be
- there when you notice something amiss
- Let the veterinary team know that you think your pet might have had rat bait or poisoned mice.
- Bring in the rat bait packaging or a photo of it
Above: Pale gums can be a sign of rat bait poisoning.
Left: A grain-type rat bait
Above: Two of the popular brands of rat bait commonly used.
We hope you all had wonderful days with lots of fun!
To Emma Borlace for being awarded Best and Fairest in her recent Aussie Rules match for Wagga!
Newsworthy and TV worthy! Well done Emma!
Meet The Team
Practice Manager: Taylor Mahoney
Taylor is one of our two Practice Managers. She worked previously with the Animal Welfare League in Sydney and worked with communities and animals during the bushfires.
Taylor is enjoying the challenge of running Lake Road Vet Hospital and working with our other practice manager.
When not busy at work she loves nothing more than getting cuddles from her chocolate Labrador, Hazel.
OUR NEW CLINIC!
The first stage of our new hospital has begun!
You will see the hospital slowly being built on Lake Albert Road. It is a purpose built hospital to continue our innovative and state of the art care that we strive to give every patient.
Here is the first of many photos we hope to share with you on our journey.