Rat bait (anti-coagulant rodenticide) is the most common poison eaten by dogs and it causes problems by preventing their blood from clotting. Symptoms begin 2-4 days after ingestion due to bleeding in different locations in the body. Dogs can bleed from anywhere but most commonly into their lungs, which causes a cough and then difficulty breathing or into their abdomen causing a bloated tummy appearance. The dog would also become very lethargic, weak and have pale gums. Treatment involves giving Vitamin K to help the blood to clot and in severe cases, a blood transfusion may be needed.
Prevention is key, always keep your rat bait stored safely (watertight, plastic container) and when using it, make sure it is secured in a dog proof bait station.
If your dog has managed to ingest some bait, call us immediately (if the clinic is closed there will be a vet on call to help). We can make the dog vomit up the poison if we see them within a few hours of ingestion. If it is too late to make them vomit but symptoms have not started, we can start treatment with Vitamin K to prevent symptoms.
Occasionally an owner is unaware their dog has had access to rat bait, they may however, see bright blue/green granules in the dogs faeces. Again, give us a call if this is the case!
Vitamin K can take at least 6 hours to start working and in certain cases, this is too long. Often people have another dog that can be used as a blood donor but if not, we have a list of clients we can call who have a dog that can help in an emergency. If you have a suitable adult dog (over 25kg, fit and healthy) and would like to be added to the donor list, please give us a call.