Poisoning Rodents Can Harm House Pets


Most of our homes have a diverse selection of products that are useful but potentially deadly to our pets. The list of possible poisons can include alcohol, antifreeze, chocolate, and rat poison.                                                                                                 Store poisons should be placed in a firmly closed or locked container made of chew resistant material. Medicines should be in a locked cupboard or drawer. Rat poison or rodenticide is toxic to other animals, too. Today’s most widely available rat poisons are anticoagulants, which prevent the blood from clotting, causing death. Death occurs days after ingesting the poison. The good news is that if your pet ingests an anticoagulant, your veterinary can administer vitamin K as an antidote.
Care for a Poisoned Pet
According to Dr. Randy Zelent of the Merrill Veterinary Clinic, anticoagulant rodenticides prevent the blood from clotting and your pet bleeds internally. Symptoms can be vague. Lethargy, increased respirations, pale mucous membranes, or more overt with bleeding from any body cavity.

If ingestion is known, vomiting can be induced within two to four hours of eating the poison. Oral vitamin K1 can be given as an antidote. Symptoms often do not start until days after ingestion, so there is time to treat if you know of the exposure. The poison lasts in the body up to four to six weeks, so the antidote must be continued for the whole time.

The problem is that exposure usually is not known, and diagnosis is not made until symptoms have developed. If bleeding is already severe, treatment can be too late. If you suspect any problems with your pet and exposure to rodenticide, contact your pet’s veterinarian. The faster you act, the better your pet’s chances of survival.


Before you decide to use poison to control a rodent problem on your property, think about the following considerations:
  • Other animals will be attracted to the poison by its smell. Birds, turkeys, snakes, and other non-target species can be killed this way.
  • Many other animals eat rodents, which will poison the predator as well. Typical predators include owls, birds of prey, martens, snakes, coyotes, foxes, and bears. By poisoning rodents, you could potentially poison the entire food chain.
  • Rodenticides are devastating to fish populations. Poisoned animals become dehydrated and seek water sources, often dying in the water.
A Better Alternative
  • Experts generally agree that the best way to control rodent populations is to eliminate the reason they are there. Poisoning or trapping won’t solve the underlying problem.
  • Keep your home and property clean and garbage free, so that rodents won’t be attracted to that food source.
  • Seal your home to prevent rodents from entering. Mice need only a very, very small hole to get into your home.
  • Trap the rodents you already have, instead of poisoning them. There are live traps for people who don’t wish to kill the rodents. Release them somewhere far from your property. The least inhumane of the lethal traps is probably the good old snap trap. Steer clear of glue traps, which hold the animal in place while they slowly dehydrate and starve.

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