Dangers of Rodenticide poisoning past and future
Rodent poisoning is a relatively common toxicity seen in veterinary medicine, and if discovered in time and treated appropriately often has excellent outcomes.
However a change in the type of toxin used in rodenticides is very important news to pet owners and veterinarians. It is going to make treating rodenticide toxicity much more difficult and require much more aggressive decontamination when exposure does occur.
The most commonly used rodenticide, those greenish-blue pellets (Think d-Con) are going to be a thing of the past. The production of second generation anticoagulant rodent poison will be discontinued March of 2015. Anticoagulant poison agents stop rodents from being able to create blood clots and will bleed to death internally. The 1st generation anticoagulants had rodents building resistance, so 2nd generation anticoagulants were created, these can kill after a single feeding, and linger in the body longer.
Both 1st and 2nd generation anticoagulants inhibit an enzyme involved with the function of Vitamin K, which is a factor in the body’s production of blood clotting proteins. So with both types of accidental poisonings Vitamin K is the antidote. Depending on how long ago the poison was ingested, vomiting, activated charcoal and sometimes transfusions of whole blood or plasma are done if needed.
So what changes are on the horizon? Due to a push from the EPA in efforts to protect wildlife, children, and pets from accidental poisoning, those anticoagulants will be discontinued for household use.
That is interesting to know and all, but what does that mean to you as a pet owner??? Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure can be deadly, but if treated promptly can be treated with no lingering side effects. Which is amazing. The new rodenticides will now be more difficult to treat. These toxins include neurotoxins, cholecalciferol (which can cause renal failure), and zinc phosphide (forms toxic phosphine gas). All these are markedly more difficult to treat in the instance a pet has an exposure. And, veterinarians are going to have to be much more aggressive with decontamination, due to the fact there is no antidote.
As a pet owner, please be extra conscientious if you elect to use rodenticides. Make sure you know what type and how many are used, place out of pets reach, and bring along any bait traps, or the box with labelling in the case your pet has an exposure. It is also important to get the information from your exterminator or gardener if they are leaving rodent traps out. The bait in these is made to be super tasty, so pets are often really motivated to get into them.
So be careful out there and please contact us at Blue Cross with any questions 702.384.8737!