Rodenticide, more commonly known as rat poison, is incredibly toxic to pets. Recent reports of rodenticide poisonings in California pose an urgent danger to pet parents all over the state.
What's going on?
This summer, two wild mountain lions were found dead in the Santa Monica Mountains after ingesting rat poison. Most likely, the big cats died as a result of toxicity from ingesting poisoned rats themselves.
Multiple rodenticides were found in the bodies of both mountain lions: bromadiolone, brodifacoum, chlorophacinone, difethialone and diphacinone.
Why does this matter to you?
Rodenticides are a threat to your pet. Although there was a push earlier in the year to actually ban certain second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in CA, the legislation never made it past the floor. Rodenticides are widely available in hardware stores, grocery stores, and online to consumers all over the state, some of whom can be careless with their application.
The greatest risk to dogs and cats comes from directly ingesting rat poison. If you live in a rural area where rats and rodents are common, it's entirely possible other members of your community may be leaving rodenticide out in the open. There's also the risk of exposure that comes from eating rodents who have themselves ingested the toxins; cats are especially prone.
If you have reason to suspect rodenticides in your area - a recent mouse outbreak, the unwanted presence of mountain lions, etc. - keep your pet on a leash at all times outdoors and never allow them to eat or scavenge prey.
How can rodenticides hurt your pet?
Rodenticides are designed to kill, not injure, rodents. The compounds in rat poison keep blood from clotting, so small animals who ingest them will eventually hemorrhage to death. Because the poisons are still present in the carcases of dead rats, mice, gophers, and other rodents, animals who scavenge carrion are at risk of secondary poisoning.
A pet who ingests rodenticides may suffer from uncontrollable bleeding. They may also experience a number of neurological issues. Symptoms of rodenticide poisoning may include loss of appetite (anorexia), seizures, impaired movement, paralysis, muscle tremors, and a depression of the central nervous system and can appear anywhere from one to two days after ingestion to up to two weeks later.
If you suspect your pet has been exposed to rat poison, take them to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately for treatment.