Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rodenticide (Rat Poisoning) and Dogs: Brownie's Story

Of course, it's not hard to imagine that something designed to kill mice and rats might also cause problems for dogs and cats. Not to mention, in making rat poison something that rats want to eat, it also becomes appetizing for our favorite family friends! Luckily, most pet owners keep their dogs far away from common poisons like these, but every now and again, dogs come in to veterinary clinics after consuming substantial quantities of rodenticides.

The majority of rodenticides used in the United States today are anti-coagulants, which means that they interfere with the blood's ability to clot. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clots to form in all of our bodies (rats, dogs, and humans included), and these poisons block the ability of Vitamin K to be reused in the body. While effects usually aren't seen for a few hours to days after consumption, if not treated, affected dogs start bleeding from their noses and their mouths, and eventually internally as well.

As horrible as this is, the treatment, especially if started BEFORE symptoms begin, is very successful and painless. By feeding the dog Vitamin K (in tablet form) for as long as the rodenticide is in their body, these dogs heal completely.

In the past few months, we've been lucky enough to save two dogs affected by rat poison. The first one, Hazel, was a very severe case as she came into the emergency room already bleeding from her nose and her mouth. For her, it was too late to just start the Vitamin K, so she needed a blood transfusion first. Luckily, she pulled though and is now happily living in her forever home!

Brownie, a little cocker spaniel/dachshund mix, was dropped off at a local emergency room just last weekend. He was skinny and scared, and his owners claimed that he had eaten an entire case of rat poison. Luckily, he was dropped off before he started showing signs, so after his owners decided to transfer him to us, we were able to take him home immediately and start him on Vitamin K therapy. He's now in a foster home while he gains some weight and gets past the dangerous part of his illness, and then he'll be available for adoption!

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