Rat Bait Poisoning – The Silent Killer
Both cats and dogs can induce Rat Bait, although it is more common in dogs than in cats. Its sweet sickly flavour is favoured by most animals hence why rats like to ingest it as well.
Even though most household do not stock Rat Bait poisoning in their homes, the furry friend may come across a rat that has, in fact, digested this poison and if the dog or cat decides to eat the rat that has been poisoned, then it too, will be infected with this substance.
There are two main types of Rat Bait on the market. Ratblitz has the active ingredient Warfarin that requires the dog or cat to ingest it over a long period of time in order for it to prove fatal. The second Rat Bait is Talon and Ratsak that has Brodifacoum, as it’s active ingredient, which has a long duration of action, and just a single dose can be fatal.
Why Rat Bait Is Fatal
The active ingredients in Rat Bait depletes the body of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed so that the blood can clot. If the blood cannot clot, then the animal will bleed out. The pet will show various signs of Rat Bait Poisoning:
Blood in urine
Blood in Faeces
Bleeding from the nose, anus, ears and eyes
Bleeding from cuts and open wounds, which do not clot.
How To Treat Rat Bait Poisoning
A full assessment and history will need to be taken along with vitals. Because Rat Bait is blue, more often than not, dogs will have blue staining on the chin, lips, gums and tongue that makes it for easy diagnosis.
The pet will need to be induced for vomiting using Apomorphine either injected as a subcut or it can be dropped into the eyes either as a whole tablet or diluted – similar to that of eye drops.
Get your bucket ready! The pet will vomit usually 3 times and hopefully that Rat Bait will come up with one of the vomits. In the meantime, nurses will need to take bloods and run a coagulation test. These tubes will determine if the pet has or has not ingested Rat Bait. If the blood starts to clot within the coagulation tube within 90 seconds, the pet is safe and no more treatment is needed. In this case scenario, it’s usually that the owner ‘thinks’ the pet ‘may’ have eaten Rat Bait. If the pet has eaten rat bait, then the coagulation clotting will occur AFTER 90 seconds.
It is here that treatment begins.
Because Rat Bait depletes the body of Vitamin K, it means that the Vitamin K needs to be replaced. The pet will have an injection of Vitamin K and will then go home with the tablet form of this drug. In 7 days, the pet will need to come back in to the clinic for another coagulation test, to see if the synthetic vitamin K has taken effect. The course of Vitamin K is for four weeks.
After the effects of vomiting have ceased, the pet will still feel a bit nauseous and sorry for itself from the Apomorphine. Metamide is given as a sub cut to reverse the effects of nausea and once treated, the pet can go home.
It is of utmost importance that those that do stock this poison that it is out of reach of children and nosy pets, and if you happen to see a deceased rat on your land, remove it immediately to avoid second degree poisoning.