Rats, Mice and Poison, Oh My.
This is the time of year that many of us start to find unwanted critters inside, wanting to hunker in for the colder months. Last year I had 2 mice in the attic during the winter. Like many people, I thought, it’s in the attic, I can’t check a live trap easily every day, so I decided to put out mouse bait. I felt bad doing it, this poor mouse who is just looking for a warm home does not deserve to die, but I didn’t really see any other possibility. I checked the trap a few days later and found that it was gone, so I thought everything was great. Until one night, about a week later, when I heard my cat Norris chasing something through the house. My next thought was “HOLY (insert expletive here), what if that is the mouse from the attic and it has mouse poison in his system?!” Google, here I come. I looked up my info and found that this would have had to have been a different mouse (the bait typically killed within 4-6 days), so I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that any mouse having poison in his system couldn’t run around after a few days. I started using live traps with peanut butter and caught 1 more mouse the next day, and 3 more this summer.
There are many types of poisons. Most commonly is Warfarin, Diphacinone, Chlorophacinone, Difethialone, and Bromadiolone. These are anticoagulants which cause the mouse or rat to start bleeding internally and eventually die.
It is very important to keep any literature, boxes, or information on any product as a precaution. If you pet does get into something poisonous, the active ingredient is an essential bit of information your veterinarian will need.
Ingestion of mouse poison, or even eating a mouse that has the poison in their system can cause extreme illness and even death to your pets. Even if you are not sure and you think that maybe your cat or dog has eaten the poison, or a poisoned rodent, you MUST call your vet immediately.
Symptoms of poison ingestion may not occur for a few days, and by then, you may have a real fight on your hands (and bigger vet bills). Your pet may be ataxic (wobbly walking), nose bleeds, bleeding from rectum, blood in stool, sneezing blood, blood in vomit, bruises, hematomas, bloated belly, breathing difficulties, pale gums, etc. This is all a result of the anticoagulant properties of the poison. You may also see loss of appetite, lethargy, paralysis, tremors, or seizures. That is why it is important to contact a vet ASAP.
When you call your vet with a suspected poisoning, they should ask you when it occurred, what the product was, what the active ingredient is, and if you have called pet poison control yet. They will then instruct you to bring your pet down (or to the local emergency clinic if after hours) with the information you have so far. Depending on the product, and the timeline, they may induce vomiting to get as much of the poison out of their system before it get absorbed. They may administer activated charcoal to coat the stomach to block absorption of what hasn’t been vomited out. They will likely check bloodwork, looking at clotting factors to see if changes are starting to occur. Vitamin K will be administered and a prescription filled for your pet to take for a period of time. Depending on the situation, there may be hospital stay, IV fluids or other supportive treatments needed.
It is very important to give the medications as prescribed, and do the recommended follow up blood testing. I remember one client who wasn’t sure if her dog got into the mouse poison or not, but the clinic treated anyway. Follow up testing about 6 weeks later did show a reduction in clotting factors which were not seen on initial testing. That dog required an extension of the Vitamin K medication and further testing. Without treatment, that pup would likely have not survived.
Please have this number on hand in case of any potential poisoning. There is a fee for using the service, but when your pets life hangs in the balance, you do not want be cheap.
or visit their website, but remember, time is of the essence. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/