‘During winter the mice and rat population seem to be greater because they are cold and looking for food. Because of this people use rodent poisons around their homes, sheds and gardens.
There are 2 major types of rat bait: first generation ones made of warfarin. These drugs have a short duration of action and require ingestion over a long period of time to be fatal. And second generation ones such as Talon and Ratsak made of Brodifacoum. These have a long duration of action, a single dose of which could be fatal.
Rat bait is an anticoagulant, it prevents blood from clotting by depleting the body’s supply of Vitamin K. Signs of poisoning can take 1-5 days after ingestion to be seen. First of all you may notice lethargy and pale gums. Signs may also involve bleeding, which can range from small haemorrhages in the skin and gums to frank bleeding from anywhere, eg from the nose, in the urine or faeces, small wounds that don’t stop bleeding, or bruising under the skin.
If you suspect that your animal has eaten rodent poison contact a vet immediately. Bring the box of bait or its name with you. If you suspect that your animal has eaten a rodent who has consumed poison this can also be fatal depending on how much the rodent has eaten and which type of poison.
If you absolutely can’t reach a vet and your animal has consumed the bait in front of you or within 5-10minutes then you could try and induce vomiting by giving your animal a small handful of salt or lectric soda crystals by mouth. This is only effective if your animal has just eaten the poison within 5-10minutes. After this time the poison may have moved into the intestines and started the process of absorption. It is critical to seek veterinary help if this has happened. Even if you do induce vomiting and see the poison come up it is still advisable to use Vitamin K therapy.
Early treatment at the vets will include induced vomiting and Vitamin K therapy to arrest any clotting dysfunction. Charcoal may also be used to reduce further absorption.
If however, clotting has started to be impaired then treatment may include a blood transfusion.
Even if you don’t use rat bait, remember that other people do and often animals will pick up some bait while their owners are visiting friends who have used the bait. “