Rat Bait Poisonings in Pets
Due to the current mouse plague that is engulfing our countryside we have been seeing a huge number of rat bait poisonings in pets. Most forms of rat bait poison stop the body from recycling vitamin-K, an essential ingredient for blood clotting, and therefore stop animals from being able to clot blood once their vitamin-K supply is used up (they are anti-coagulants). This leads to whatever has ingested the poison eventually bleeding out, though this does not happen immediately as the body generally stores a 3-day supply of vitamin K in its fat. The older poisons tend to last in the body for 3-4 weeks, whilst newer compounds are able to persist for up to 6 weeks. Some products out there work by causing dehydration rather than anti-coagulation, and so are slightly less dangerous (though still potentially toxic) to our pets.
Therefore, in treating a rat bait ingestion there are a number of factors we consider - the first is how recently the bait has been ingested. If the bait was eaten 1-2 hours ago we can induce vomiting to make your pet bring up what it has eaten and hopefully avoid treatment. We will often recommend performing a clot test 3 and 7 days later after this step to be certain that no bait has been absorbed, and will likely recommend this course of action if it is not known that your pet has definitely eaten bait.
The second factor we take into account is what kind of bait has been used, as this will determine how long your pet will need to be on medication.
If you are ever concerned that your pet may have eaten bait, please call our clinic to discuss options for diagnosis and treatment. It is better to be safe than sorry!