Rat baits, rat poisons, rodenticides
There are several categories of rodenticides:
1) Anticoagulants (causes internal bleeding) – also subdivided into first generation (warfarin or warfarin-like) and 2nd/3rdgeneration
2) Bromethalin (causes neurologic signs/damage and seizures and death)
3) Cholecalciferol (causes death by severe calcium elevation)
4) Others (zinc phosphide – can cause human illness if exposed to the toxic fumes when the patient (dog) is made to vomit)
There have been recent changes to the regulations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limiting which rodenticides are available at consumer retailers (supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, etc) and in what form those rodenticides are allowed to be sold to the individual homeowner.
Although many rodenticide bait stations are designed to be child- and dog-tamper proof, it is always possible for the dog to consume the entire bait station and/or chew it up enough to expose themselves to toxic levels.
If you suspect or witness a rodenticide ingestion, call your primary care veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately, and bring the packaging label of the rodenticide with you to the hospital with your pet so the active ingredient can be identified. If the dog vomits in the home, especially if zinc phosphide is the rodenticide, evacuate everyone (all people, other pets) away from the vomited material and ensure good ventilation by opening all the windows, as toxic gases are liberated and can cause illness/injury to humans and other pets exposed to the gas.
For more information, visit
http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reregistration/rodenticides/finalriskdecision.htm or call and schedule an appointment with your primary care veterinarian to discuss rodenticide usage and signs of intoxication.
Dr. Jessica Diaz