Pet poisoning - common causes
Article donated by Dr. Paula Short, Tasman Bay Vets, Mapua
Unfortunately, our pets, particularly pet dogs, are quite susceptible to many of the poisons which we routinely use to kill off unwanted pests such as slugs and snails in the garden, rats, rabbits and possums. Recently we have had a spate of serious accidental poisonings so it is timely to remind everyone of the common poisons which are laid around the home and their symptoms.
Rat bait is the most common poisoning that we see. Most rat baits work by inhibiting the body's ability to clot blood and therefore lead to death from excessive bleeding. They take up to 7 days to take full effect. Symptoms include lethargy, weakness, vomiting blood, passing stools with blood in them, difficulty breathing, pale gums and collapse. Clinically affected animals are treated with Vitamin K supplementation and, depending on the severity of illness, a blood or plasma transfusion may be given. Blood tests will often be run to confirm a diagnosis and monitor response to treatment.
Slug and Snail Bait
Slug baits generally cause neurological symptoms such as trembling muscles, shaking, wobbliness and drooling. Symptoms are usually seen within minutes to hours of the bait being ingested and can cause death very quickly. There is no antidote to these poisons and treatment is based on removing the poison from the body and keeping the animal sedated to control convulsions.
If you are using any of these poisons around your house or garden try to ensure
that your pets do not have direct access to them. If you see them eat or suspect
that they have eaten any poisons then contact us immediately. Fortunately all
of our recent cases of poisonings have survived due to their owners contacting
us in good time.