Beware of Rodenticides’ Toxic Effects in Pets

If you have a rodent problem, your first thought is going to be to call up the exterminator and set up traps with rat poison to attack the problem head-on. But, do you have small animals in the house that will see these traps and think the poisonous surprise is for them? Before you take that step to call the exterminator, you may want to learn more about the toxic effects of rat poison. Our Cloud Peak staff can teach you all the information you need to keep unwanted guests out without worrying about your pets. A pet consuming something they should not is a common problem we deal with, so do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns. If you are currently having a rodenticide emergency, call (307) 347-2781 for immediate assistance! 

Something you may not realize is that not all rodenticides are deadly to pets, but they are all harmful if consumed. Rodenticides are not all made equal, however, so main ingredients like Warfarin will not kill your pet, but D’Con’s ingredients will. If your pet consumes the rodenticide, no matter what brand you buy, your pet will become sick; seek medical attention ASAP. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you are having a rodenticide emergency, give us a call at (307) 347-2781 to receive direct help.

What Rodenticide Does to Your Pet

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There are four main types of rodenticide we will discuss in this blog, including anticoagulants, bromethalin, zinc and phosphides, and cholecalciferol. As a vet clinic, we will preface this by disclosing our preference for rodenticides including cholecalciferol over any others. Each rodenticide attacks the mammal’s body differently, so please pay attention to the ingredient list when you purchase rodenticide. 

Of course, the effects you will see are entirely based on the type of rodenticide used, but the most common pesticide used is an anticoagulant. Bar Bait is an anticoagulant, so if you need specific Bar Bait information, we recommend checking out this blog. The main property of these poisons is to prevent the blood from clotting, which leads to internal bleeding and death. The rodenticide will not take effect until three to seven days after consumption, but once it is consumed, the body does not waste any time to spread the anticoagulant, causing death. If your pet consumes an anticoagulant rodenticide, call our emergency number and come to our clinic directly as there is a possibility of purging the poison before it takes full effect. 

As pests have adapted and developed a resistance to the aforementioned anticoagulant, scientists have turned to the chemical bromethalin for solutions. Similar to anticoagulants, bromethalin will shut down necessary, large-scale bodily functions and eventually lead to death. Anticoagulants attack the affected animal’s blood, while bromethalin attacks their central nervous system and brain. The effects are almost immediate as the mammal will stop eating after ingesting the chemical. The chemical will drain all cells of their energy, causing every cell to swell and put pressure on the mammal’s brain. Once pressure is building in the brain, the body begins to shut down, causing paralysis and eventually death. Bromethalin is a very effective, very deadly rat poison. 

While less common, some rodenticides contain zinc and aluminum phosphides, which focus on destroying the mammal’s lungs. As soon as the phosphides irritate the lungs, the mammal will continue to cough and gag until they throw up. When the mammal throws up, the toxin becomes stronger and more poignant, causing much more damage to their body. Again, phosphide-based rodenticides are not very common, but it is very important to know the medical problems your pet may encounter. 
On the other side of the rodenticide spectrum, cholecalciferol is a main ingredient that attacks the body differently than an anticoagulant/ neurotoxin. When a mammal has too much Cholecalciferol in their system, they suffer from acute kidney failure that will eventually lead to death. Because the chemical does not attack the central nervous system, like anticoagulants do, veterinarians are able to intervene before symptoms develop past the point of return. Products like D’Con use this chemical and as such, we recommend using the D’Con brand over others. If you want to learn more specifics about D’Con, check out this blog!

Symptoms to Look for

As previously mentioned, the symptoms of poison ingestion do not usually show up until three days, or past the five-day mark of consumption. However, if you know that your pet has eaten rodenticide, please do not wait for symptoms to occur before you seek medical attention. If you do not notice, but recognize the following signs, seek help immediately. The most common symptoms are: 

  • Weakness or change in energy levels
  • Nose bleeds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing 
  • Vomiting blood
  • Having blood in the stool
  • Pale gums
  • Bruising
  • Bloody urine
  • Decreased appetite
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures

As soon as you notice ANY of these symptoms, call your vet immediately; your pet does not need to exhibit all aforementioned symptoms to warrant medical attention. Rat poison ingestion is almost impossible to treat, but the sooner you seek medical help, the better the survival rate. If you are looking for an emergency vet clinic, call our number (307) 347-2781 and we will be there to find a solution.

What to Do If Your Pet Does Ingest Rodenticide

As soon as you notice your pet has ingested rodenticide, take notes about their behavior and any noticeable symptoms so that your vet can effectively diagnose and treat your pup. By giving your vet as much information as possible, including the type of rodenticide consumed, your vet will be able to properly care for your furry friend. Rodenticides have different active ingredients, so your pet’s treatment process will be completely unique to them. After taking notes, contact your vet IMMEDIATELY! Their team will walk you through everything they need to accurately assess your pet, and it may be helpful to bring in the rodenticide container so the vet staff has as much relevant information as possible. Do not give your pet anything else to consume as your vet may need to monitor your animal’s consumption habits to ensure they are recovering. Take immediate action no matter the circumstance!

If you are experiencing an animal-related emergency, or have any questions about what kind of rodenticides would be best for you to use, contact Cloud Peak Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible. We have the knowledge and resources to take care of your four-legged friend and we want to help you. Give us a call at (307) 347-2781, so we can get started on healing your animal. Our website also houses much more information about animal care, so check that out!



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