Finn's Corner

August 2015

Rat Bait Toxicity


Something we are seeing a lot of lately is clients bringing in pets that have consumed various forms of rat bait.


Rat bait disrupts the process by which the body produces Vitamin K, which is a necessary vitamin required for blood to clot. Hence, without Vitamin K animals can bleed to death. A main issue with pets consuming rat poison is that unless the pet is seen ingesting it, symptoms will not appear for 2-3 days after it has entered the body. If recognised too late internal bleeding can occur.


Symptoms that will appear around the 2-3day mark mainly include
• lethargy and
• weight loss
• collapse
• difficulty breathing.
If bleeding occurs, other signs of poisoning will include
• pale gums
• blood in the urine, vomit or stool,
• skin bruising
• bleeding from the nose
• pain when moving.


Rat bait toxicity can be identified by a blood clotting test however treatment will vary depending on the time it is diagnosed after consumption. If you have seen your pet ingest rat poison you should contact your local clinic immediately. If caught early enough a veterinarian can induce vomiting to remove the poison from the body before it enters your pets system. This is usually within a couple of hours of your pet ingesting the poison. If the poison is absorbed then they will require hospitalisation and supplementation with Vitamin K for up to 4 weeks. In severe cases blood transfusions are required.


We know that poisons and pets don’t mix so be sure to place and store rait baits carefully. Keep them out of areas where your pet has access and if storing them keep them in sealed containers. Prevention is the key!

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