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Rodenticides: a Serious Threat to Dogs and Cats

dog and mouse
As the temperatures get cooler in the fall, rodents such as rats and mice seek shelters in warm areas, with many attempting to move indoors. For obvious reasons, no one wants to share their home with rodents. Various methods are used to keep rodents away including the use of rodenticides or poisons that kill these unwanted pests. Unfortunately, they don’t only kill rodents. They can also kill pets – both dogs and cats, especially during the fall when the use of rodenticides increases.

The Risk of Rodenticide Poisoning for Pets

Rodenticides pose a very serious threat to dogs and cats as well as other domesticated animals. They are not only toxic to rats and mice but are also very toxic to dogs, cats and other mammals as well as birds. If ingested, rodent poison can be lethal. And the risk of ingestion by other animals than rodents is very real. This is because many rodenticides contain food or food-like ingredients which are not only attracting rodents but other animals as well.

In addition to direct poisoning by ingesting rodent poison which is known as primary poisoning, rodenticides can also cause secondary poisoning. The latter occurs through ingestion of a rat or mouse that ate the poison and can be just as dangerous as direct ingestion of the poison.

Symptoms of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Symptoms of rodenticide poisoning in pets and their severity depend greatly on the type of poison that was ingested and its quantity but they also depend greatly on the animal’s age, overall health and some other factors. Some of the most common symptoms include refusal to eat, vomiting, weakness, lethargy, uncoordinated movement, muscle spasm/trembling, increased thirst or urination, blood in urine or stools, and seizures.

Treatment of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Treatment of rodenticide poisoning in pets depends on several factors including the type of rodent poison that was ingested and severity of symptoms. But regardless of which type of poison was ingested (or is suspected to be ingested) and regardless of the quantity, it is of utmost importance for the pet to receive veterinarian treatment as soon as possible.

To help the veterinarian choose the most effective treatment, you are advised to take the rodenticide package to the vet. If this is not possible, look inside your pet’s mouth, vomit or stool for any unusual color stains which may help the vet determine the type of poison that was eaten.

Prevention of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

To reduce the risk of your pet accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly rodent poison, consider non-toxic rodent control measures which don’t foresee the use of rodenticides. And don’t worry, they are just as effective in keeping the rodents away.

Just because you don’t use rodenticides, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t pose a threat to your dog or cat. You are advised to check with your neighbors if they use any rodent poisons. If they do, politely suggest the use of non-toxic alternatives or at least try to find out what kind of poison they are using.

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