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Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Rodenticides or pesticides designed to kill and control mice can also kill unsuspecting pets at home. Dogs and cats are very prone to rodenticide poisoning because of their inquisitive nature -- dogs like to sniff stuff while cats are fond of licking. While it is not advised for homeowners who own pets to use rodenticides, there are instances when the use of rodenticides is inevitable. If this is the case, the homeowner should take extra caution is handling the poison and should educate himself or herself about the measures that should be done in case accidental poisoning does happen.

This article is written to guide homeowners when accidents as such happen.

It is good to note that most rodenticides sold in the market nowadays are classified as anticoagulants. Meaning, these rodenticides kill mice by inhibiting their bodies to clot. Rodents are most likely to die due to internal bleeding or if external wounds are present, the rodent will most likely bleed to death. Pets that happen to ingest rodenticides too will have the same problem, although the effects of the poison does not appear as fast as when it is with rodents. This disparity in the length of time before the effects of the poison appears is primarily because of the size of the pets relative to the rodents. In the same way, the effects of rodenticides to humans are also relative to the amount of poison ingested.

Nonetheless, even though pets do not immediately die after rodenticide poisoning, if left untreated, these pets could also die. Thus, it is very important for pet owners to know how to detect rodenticide poisoning in pets. Here is a short list of the symptoms which the pets might show:

1. Lethargy or weakness - If you notice an obvious change in the behavior of your pet, especially when it is related to their lack of energy to do the activities which they are supposed to be fond of, i.e. running to and fro water sprinklers, chasing you everywhere and the like, then your pet might have ingested rodent poison.

2. Cold Limbs - The most obvious symptom of bleeding which is common to all warm-blooded animals is having cold limbs. Hold your pets limbs and if you observe that they are unusually cold, then your pet has probably ingested rodenticides.

3. Pale Gums - The loss of blood can also lead to the paling of the gums, the lips and the eye area. Check your pet's physical condition in order to make sure.

You don't have to wait for these symptoms to appear if you have actually seen your pet ingesting rodenticide. Do not assume that the rodenticides taken in by your pet may be too small in amount to result to any complication. The key into saving your pet's life is by acting fast. Any delay might cost you your pet's life. Here are some other advices which you might find useful:

1. Call veterinarian

If you happen to notice torn rodenticide packages or rodenticide scattered somewhere they are not supposed to be, you should call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will instruct you what to do. Your veterinarian will definitely ask you about the kind of rodenticide that your pet has ingested so keep the box or packet of rodenticide at hand so you can answer quickly. Remember, the faster you act, the better it is for your pet.

2. Induce Vomiting

Your veterinarian will most likely advise you to make your pet vomit, but in the event when you can't contact your veterinarian yet, you can use your initiative and help you pet vomit. However, you should know that if the rodenticide that you have at home is known to have corrosive substances, then it is not advisable for you to make your pet vomit. The same is true when your pet is unconscious. The best that you can do is to bring your pet to the nearest veterinary as soon as possible.

3. Use Activated Charcoal

After vomiting, your pet will be given activated carbon by the veterinarian. Pets do not like the taste of activated carbon so it is very common for veterinarians to force feed the pet with charcoal. It usually comes in the form of a liquid or a paste for easy dispersion. Activated charcoal is very effective in absorbing toxins.

4. Vitamin K

Rodenticide poisoning treatment is not complete without a vitamin k prescription. Since the most commonly used rodenticides are anticoagulants, vitamin k plays a very significant role in the healing process of your pets because of it can restore the ability of your pet's body to clot. Vitamin K is often injected for a couple of times to your pet, after which the pest is prescribed with vitamin k capsules for a couple of weeks. Humans poisoned with rodenticide are also given vitamin k capsules.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

Sometimes it is very difficult to drive pets into vomiting. Hydrogen peroxide is given to pets in order to induce vomiting. A teaspoon of a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is already sufficient to pets weighing 10 pounds or less. The solution is simply squirted into the throat of the pet. In less than five minutes, if the pet has not vomited yet, another shot of hydrogen peroxide should be given. If you are inducing the vomiting yourself and you can't find a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, you can use solutions of higher concentrations diluted with water.

Although there are means to save your pets from dying whenever they ingest rodenticides, still, the best advice that you can get about keeping your pets safe is to store your rodenticides in places where they cannot be located by pets (or children). You should also put food baits mixed with rodenticide in places where they are only accessible to pests and not to pets. If you can, make sure that your pets do not wander away from your sight when you know that you have rodenticides scattered somewhere in your house.

Nonetheless, if you have pets or children at home, it is still in your best interest to avoid using rodenticides. There are other methods you can use to control mice, methods that do not have to be dangerous to your pets or to your children. You can use peppermint oils and other natural scents to scare mice away. You can also use mechanical traps or glue traps. Learn more about the methods that you can use to control mice by reading through the other articles in this site.

All the best,
Sergiu Zburatoru
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