Beware Of Lethal Change In Rat Poison

rat poison

Due to a 2011 EPA regulation, household rat poisons such as d-CON are changing their active ingredient from a second- generation (long-acting) anticoagulant to a first-generation (short-acting) anticoagulant.  These changes are rolling out this year.  Because rat poison is one of the most common toxicities that we see in veterinary medicine, it’s important to understand the consequences this will have on your pet.

The manufacturers of rat poisons had a choice of a hand full of active ingredients that are considered first-generation anticoagulants.  Unfortunately, the safest product was not effective at killing mice.  That left only two other products two choose from for their active ingredient.  One is a toxin that affects the neurological system and has no antidote, and the other is cholecalciferol, also known as Vitamin D.  Neither choice is a good one for our pets, but the lesser of the two evils is cholecalciferol.

What are the signs of cholecalciferol rat poison?

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Ammonia smell to the breath

Unfortunately, it only takes a small amount to poison your pet.  It can take several days before you will notice these signs in your pet.  The damage is irreversible and causes chronic kidney failure.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance to treat your pet very shortly after ingestion of these products.

How to treat cholecalciferol rat poison?

The best way to treat cholecalciferol is immediately purging the product from your pet’s stomach before it gets digested into their bloodstream.  Once in the bloodstream, it can be present for more than 15 days and continue to damage your pet’s kidneys.  If it’s too late for purging the product from your pet’s stomach aggressive intravenous fluid therapy and monitoring your pet’s blood work for changes in calcium and kidney function is imperative to try and prevent further damage.

The only saving grace with this new change in product is they are packaging the product different which makes it harder for your pet to ingest.  The new product is considered a soft bait that is the consistency of play dough and is packaged in plastic.  These soft baits then need to be placed in a bait station where the mouse will enter, chew through the plastic and ingest the product.  Some manufacturers are doing their best to make the bait stations dog and child resistant, but unfortunately, a large determined dog could probably get it opened.  Please be aware that when you purchase the product, they usually contain additional soft baits so that you can reload the bait station, and this is the packaging that is easily accessible to your pet.

Dr. Coffin and the staff at Guthrie Pet Hospital do not recommend you use these products at all!  If you have to use these products, place them in a secure spot in your home where to pet doesn’t have access. Contact us immediately if you have an emergency.

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