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Is rat bait poisonous?

Most pet poisonings are the result of careless placement of baits, overuse of baits or failure to dispose of posoned rodents or old baits.

There are 2 types of baits but both have a similar action ie to destroy/inhibit clotting factors in the blood. The result is that the poisoned animal bleeds to death, usually over a period of a few days to 2 weeks.

Dogs and cats can seem fine for days before the liver reserve of clotting factors(vitamin K) becomes depleted. After this just normal activities like running, playing, eating or sneezing /coughing can cause minor bleeds that continues unchecked until the animal starts to run out of blood.

Initially signs of coughing, mouth bleeds or dark coloured faeces may be present. This progresses to pale gums, lethargy and eventually collapse and death. Sometimes an owner may find an animal dead aithout noticing any signs of apparent illness.

Treatment consists of vitamin K supplementation for a period of 1-8 weeks or longer depending on the type of bait. It is very improtant if possible to let the vet know what type of bait was eaten (eg talon, talon G, ratsak etc) as this will give us an indication of how long treatment must continue. A huge misconception is that once the pet survives the initial insult that they should be OK.

Pets can still die as long as 4-6 weeks after eating the poison eps. If treatment is stopped because the pet seems to be running around like normal. Blood clotting test will need to be done once treatment stops to ensure that the pet is able to produce their own clotting factors again. In severe cases, whole blood transfusions, treatment for shock, oxygen and hospitalisation may be needed.