Scruffy, a rambunctious two-year-old terrier, was at his summer cabin when he found a special treat under the cabinet—a tray of delicious green pellets. His family found the evidence later that evening, and monitored him over the next few days for any signs of illness. His stool was green for a day or two, but otherwise he seemed fine, and his owners breathed a sigh of relief. The following week, however, it was evident that something was seriously wrong. Scruffy started throwing up blood, developing dark diarrhea, and had difficulty breathing. At this point, he was rushed to the animal hospital, where tests showed severe clotting abnormalities. Fortunately, after several days of intensive care, Scruffy was eventually discharged.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence, and not all patients are so lucky. This story highlights the need to address rodenticide exposures as early as possible. There are several types of rat poisons on the market, and some may have delayed effects. It is vital to call your veterinarian as soon as possible so that decontamination and treatment measures can be initiated and the toxicity mitigated.