Rat poison is a pretty common tool used to control mice, particularly in the fall when those small rodents start looking for a warmer location, preferably your house or barn, to spend the winter. However extreme care needs to be used when selecting a poison. Bromethalin, a fairly new active ingredient in several brands, is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and there is no antidote.
The Lockwood Veterinary Clinic in Billings put out a warning this week on their Facebook page after seeing a number of dogs brought into the clinic who had ingested rat poison with bromethalin. According to Dr. Jody Anderson, “The new poisons are very potent and keeping them out of reach of your pet is not good enough. The poisoned mice get into and carry the poison around and both taste really good. It is awful to watch your best friend struggle to stand, unable to control movement, seizure, and more often than not die.”
Symptoms of bromethalin poisoning:
Bromethalin poisoning is fast acting — signs of brain swelling and central nervous system disturbance can appear within 2 to 24 hours after ingestion. Depending on how much poison has been ingested, symptoms can include unsteadiness, weakness, muscle tremors, paddling motions of the limbs, hyperexcitability, depression, vomiting, high fever, stiffness in the front legs, and seizures.
With anticoagulant toxicity, veterinarians typically have from about 3 days to a week to save the patient, but the rapid onset of bromethalin poisoning leaves almost no time for error. Once an animal is showing neurological symptoms, effective treatment becomes more difficult and costly, and the pet may only have a day or two to be saved. Even in cases for which treatment is successful, more emergency care and hospitalization is involved than in cases of anticoagulant poisoning.
Because there’s no antidote for bromethalin, decontamination (inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal) is the primary treatment. The severity of intoxication depends on how much bromethalin is ingested. If a pet is discovered within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, the owner can induce vomiting. But beyond that very short window of time, vomiting should only be induced in a veterinary setting — and the pet must then be monitored for acute signs of neurological impairment and given repeated doses of activated charcoal over a 24-hour period. A pet who has recurrent seizures or paralysis after ingesting bromethalin has a poor prognosis.
Best Options for Mice Control
The EPA offers a list of approved rodenticides that meet regulatory standards and can be used by homeowners. Be sure to select a product that contains an active ingredient other than bromethalin. Both diaphacinone and chlorophacinone are short-acting anticoagulants. Should your pet ingest one of these substances, most veterinarians will be familiar with standard methods of diagnosis and treatment.
No rodenticide is entirely safe, but if you must use one, it makes sense to select a product that if ingested can be easily diagnosed and in most cases, effectively treated.
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Source: Lockwood Veterinary Clinic and Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker.
Posted by Jami Howell