Sometimes our pets get into things we really wish they wouldn’t. If your pet manages to consume some type of rodenticide, then it is important to act quickly to prevent lasting damage. It is important to know that there are several different types of rodenticides, and each of these will behave differently in your pet. This also means that treatment is dependent on what type of toxin was consumed. Make sure you know what type of rodenticide you are using, as this will be vital information for your veterinarian.
Once you suspect that your pet may have eaten some rodenticide, or even eaten an animal killed by rodenticide, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away. When bringing your pet in to see the doctor, make sure to bring with you the packaging of the product that they consumed. This is actually a really good practice anytime you need to bring your pet in for eating something they shouldn’t have. Knowing exactly what your pet has come in contact with is the first step for speedy and efficient treatment and recovery.
If your pet has consumed any kind of anticoagulant rodenticide, they will begin to exhibit symptoms such as dark, sticky, bloody stool, blood pooling in their eyes, weakness, depression, anorexia, a painful abdomen, bloody urine, and may even begin to cough up bloody mucus. Anticoagulant rodenticides work by preventing blood clotting in the target animal, which means that blood will begin to pool and appear in places where it shouldn’t. First generation anticoagulants take multiple feedings to actually become toxic, and include products such as warfarin, pindone, and coumafuryl. Intermediate anticoagulants require fewer feedings to become toxic, and include products such as chlorophacinon and diphacinone. Second generation anticoagulants are immediately toxic, and can even effect a pet that eats an animal killed by the rodenticide, instead of only being effected by the poison itself. Some examples of products that are second generation anticoagulants include brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and difethiolone.
Other types of rodenticides can be just as deadly to pets as anticoagulants. Bromethalin can cause vomiting, tremors, paralysis, anorexia, coma, and uncontrolled eye movements. Cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D3, can cause renal disease, heart arrhythmias, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, and impaired movement. Zinc Phosphide can cause trembling, seizures, collapse, rapid breathing, and bloody vomit. Zinc phosphide can be especially dangerous, as when it is vomited back up, it produces phosphine gas, which is extremely dangerous to people as well. If your pet has consumed zinc phosphide and begins to vomit in your home, evacuate immediately and call emergency services.
Rodenticides are particularly dangerous toxins to pets as well, so if you have a pet that you don’t trust to not eat something they find around the yard or house, consider using other ways to deal with a rat or mouse problem. Always be sure to be completely honest with your veterinarian about what your pet may have eaten, as to do otherwise can lead to delayed treatment and a less likely chance for your pet to recover completely.