July 16, 2022

Preventing pet poisonings

By Dr Elisia Jones – Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati, Papamoa Village Vets

Rats, mice, slugs and snails, none of us like these around our homes and gardens. However, our attempts to rid ourselves of these pests can cause harm to our pets.

Using bait safely

Bait should only be placed where it cannot be accessed by non-target species. Store all poisons in sealed containers. Dogs especially will break open cardboard boxes to get to some baits. Check the bait stations daily. Remove any dead or dying vermin. If using poisons in the garden, section off these areas and keep pets away.

How do these poisons work?

Rat baits stop blood from clotting causing animals to bleed excessively.  Signs of poisoning usually take 2-3 days to show up. A single adult mouse can contain enough rat bait to poison a medium size dog. Slug baits contain Metaldehyde, how it causes toxicity is unknown. Signs of poisoning usually take one hour to show up. A 4.5 kg dog can show signs of toxicity after eating as little as 28 g of a typical 3% metaldehyde bait.

What to look for:

Rat baits: If you are using rat baits, even if they are out of reach, be on the lookout for any unusual signs.  Bleeding can occur into any body cavity, including the lungs, so the signs can vary greatly from general weakness, lameness, to difficulty breathing.

Slug baits: The first sign of poisoning is usually vomiting. Pets may then become anxious, have a racing heart and respiratory rate, drool excessively, walk “drunk” or stiff, and start to have muscle tremors.  These tremors often cause a high fever that can lead to organ failure.

Can these poisonings be treated?

Yes, both poisons can be successfully treated. If you see your pet eating baits or suspect your pet has been poisoned get to your vet ASAP! The faster treatment can be started, the better the chance of a good outcome. Even if you don’t know that your pet has ingested a poison, always let your veterinarian know if there is any on the property.

If you have any further questions please call Tauranga Te Puna Katikati Papamoa Village Vets on 0800 838 7267.