Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

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Stuart Badger

The most common form of Rat Poison used is one that contains a warfarin type anti-coagulant compound, which causes fatal haemorrhage in the rat, or a dog, about 5-10 days after ingestion.

There are some pest poisons that target other species like possums which also carry these compounds. If in doubt look on the packet and under treatment for accidental poisoning it will mention Vitamin K, if this family of compounds is involved.

Dogs typically like these rat baits and once eaten they will seek them out if given the chance.


Symptoms in the dog include:-

- Green coloured faeces a day or so after ingestion

- A quiet, breathless, lethargic dog

Pale gums

- Rapid heart or respiration rate

Unexplained bleeding – from the mouth, rectum, nose, bladder or internally

Unexplained haematomas on the body

A deep resonant chesty cough.


The good news is, dogs eating rat baits are treatable.

Firstly if a dog is known to have eaten or suspected of having eaten a rat bait a visit to the Veterinary Clinic ‘to have’ the dog made to vomit is a smart choice. We have effective drugs for this. If you don’t know which dog ate it bring the whole team and we can organise a vomiting party for them all!

Secondly we have both injectable and oral Vitamin K treatments, this replaces the clotting factor that is needed for effective blood clotting and corrects the problem in an affected dog. This typically requires a month of oral treatment until the dog is out of danger.

Occasionally a blood transfusion is required to buy time until the drugs work, so bringing in a Huntaway along the affected dog is useful.


‘Prevention is better than cure’ so place rat baits in areas that are inaccessible to dogs and secure them with a nail or wire so a rat can’t knock them off rafters or move them to areas that dogs can access them.



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