Ratting Out Poisons That Can Kill Your Pet

When you see multiple animals in one day who are in danger of being severely ill from the same cause, you know there’s a problem.

The veterinarians at Del Valle recently saw three pets in one morning who had ingested rat poison or snail bait. Even if the box says “pet safe”, the ingredients in these products can be deadly for dogs and cats as well as the pests you want to exterminate. These pets could have been seriously sickened had their owners not brought them in right away for treatment.

We understand that getting rid of rodents and snails in your home and garden is important. However, if any of the following active ingredients are present in the product or trap, you don’t want it in your home with your resident animals—or small children, for that matter. 

  • Anticoagulants: The most common type of poison used, these prevent the blood from clotting. Anticoagulants take effect in about 48 hours and symptoms include lethargy, coughing, exercise intolerance and later, possible vomiting and bleeding from the gums.
  • Cholecalciferol: This very dangerous poison works by continuously increasing the calcium and phosphorus levels, which can result in kidney failure within two to four days. Watch for increased thirst and urination, lethargy, decreased appetite.
  • Bromethalin: Cerebral edema—brain swelling—is the result when even small amounts of this poison are ingested. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, paralysis, and when not treated can quickly kill your pet. It is especially toxic to cats.
  • Zinc, calcium, and aluminum phosphides: More commonly found in mole and gopher baits, once in the stomach, this combo releases toxic gas which increases if the animal eats afterward. Abdominal pain, vomiting, liver damage and shock can result if even a small dose is consumed.
  • Metaldehyde: This is the active ingredient in most slug bait. Once ingested this substance is toxic to the nervous system. Seizures, tremors, and lack of coordination can occur within minutes, and if untreated, metaldehyde poisoning can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to or ingested any rodenticide or snail bait, don’t wait! Contact us as soon as possible at (925) 443-6000 as well as the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661. It’s also important that you bring in the product packaging so the veterinarian can identify the active ingredient and know how to best treat your pet.