As the weather gets colder we start to turn heaters on to keep our homes warm.
Rats and mice come into our homes as they also seek the warmth and baits often get placed out to keep the rodents under control. These baits can also be toxic to our pets.
Rat baits are anti-coagulants. This means they stop the blood from clotting normally.
Once the bait has been ingested it can take up to five days for any signs to show. This means you will not see any symptoms when the bait is first eaten. If you see your pet with a bait then it is best to contact a vet clinic straight away so they can induce vomiting which will minimise the amount of toxin metabolised.
Unfortunately, we don’t always see our pets eating the bait and then they can become unwell.
Symptoms of rat bait ingestion are: lethargy, increased respiratory rate, any bruising or bleeding, pale almost white gums, the pet may be cold and may have blood in the urine or stool.
A blood test can be performed to check if there are adequate clotting factors.
Treatment for rat bait ingestion is vitamin K, which activates the clotting factors in the blood.
The vitamin K is usually given as a tablet twice a day and has to be given for up to four weeks as this is how long the toxin lasts in the animal’s system.
Once the course of Vitamin K is finished a further blood test is done to ensure the clotting factors are back to normal.
Some pets become so severely affected and lose so much blood that they need a blood transfusion.
So if you even suspect your pet has had access to any rat bait it is best to contact your vet straight away.
- Dr Selma Fuijkschot, Petfocus Vetcare