Rodent Poisoning

Many rodent poisons are composed of anticoagulants, which can be equally fatal to your pet. Rat poisons are a common cause of toxicity in pets because they are palatable and are frequently placed where dogs and cats may easily find them. Common rat poisons which contain the anticoagulant warfarin include: D-Con, Ward 42, Rax, Rodex, Tox hid, Ratifin, Rat-a-way, Lurat, Krunkill, and Fumisol. More potent anticoagulants, such as bromadiolone and brodifacoum, are contained in: Mouse Prufe II, Havoc, Talon, Weather Block, Super Caid, Ratimus, and Contrac.

How it works

Anticoagulants block the synthesis of vitamin K, which is an essential requirement for normal clotting. Only small amounts of warfarin, the most commonly used anticoagulant, are needed to prevent vitamin K synthesis.

Clinical signs

Signs of rat poisoning may occur almost immediately, or may take several days to appear. Common signs include depression and lethargy, shortness of breath, nose bleeds or gum bleeds, bruising and vomiting.


Diagnosis of rodenticide toxicity include a series of blood tests and blood clotting tests. During the initial stages of diagnosis, veterinarians will often place animals on vitamin K therapy to control life-threatening bleeding disorders.


If you suspect that your pet may have ingested rodent poison, it is essential that you have your pet examined by a veterinarian. If at all possible, bring the packaging of the rodent poison to aid your vet in choosing an appropriate treatment.

Treatment for rodenticide poisoning includes intravenous or oral vitamin K therapy. Depending on the severity of clinical signs, your pet may require hospitalization and supportive care, including intravenous fluids or possibly a blood transfusion. However, once the animal is stabilized, treatment may be continued at home. The length of treatment may be up to three to four weeks. Your veterinarian will monitor your pet’s response to the vitamin K therapy to determine when you pet has fully recovered. During the treatment period, it is a good idea to limit exercise and contact with other pets, to prevent potential bruising or bloodshed.

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