Rodenticide Poisoning


Mouse numbers are high, and unfortunately we see many pets that are accidentally poisoned by their otherwise very caring owners.  Never say never when it comes to our pets gaining access to and eating rodent poison!  There was a particularly bad mouse plague in Autumn 2011 where the numbers of pets accidentally poisoned was around 7 per day in Dubbo, some of which were fatal.  Thankfully, since then we have not seen this number suffer from rodenticide poisoning, but whenever mouse numbers are high, we are on high alert!

Some examples of rodent poisons are “Ratsak”, “Bromokill”, “Talon”, “TomKat”, Mortein “RatKill” etc.  These all contain variations of a similar poison that interferes with the body’s ability to manufacture essential blood clotting factors.  Clotting factors are proteins, which prevent bleeding either internally or externally.  When consumed, the chemical contained in the rodent poison stops the liver producing these clotting factors by blocking the action of Vitamin K, which is required for the formation of these vital clotting proteins.  No adverse signs appear until 3 days AFTER the bait has been eaten.  This is the time it takes for the clotting factors that have already been produced prior to eating the ratbait, to run out.  After 3 days, bleeding into the bladder, lungs, abdomen and possibly from the nose begins.  If you see any external bleeding that won’t stop, pale gums, lethargy with breathing difficulty, nose bleeds or if urine or faeces becomes really dark, contact the surgery ASAP – this is an emergency.  Unless the clotting factors are restored through a plasma or blood transfusion, or Vitamin K is quickly administered, then these animals can die.

Poisoning of pets by eating baited mice is theoretically possible, but very uncommon.  The main reason is because mice already sick from bleeding have digested and processed most of the protein.  These mice therefore only contain a small amount of poison and pets would have to eat dozens to become affected.  The main threat is from direct access to the poison itself.  But if pets capture and eat a rodent which has just finished a big meal full of poison, these signs may occur.

Rodent poisoning cases are genuine emergences, so immediate veterinary help is required.  This is the case at any stage of poisoning – just eaten, if you come home and find a chewed bait, or if your pet is unwell from the effects of bleeding.  If concerned, contact the surgery directly on 02 6884 9900, or for an after-hours emergency 0418 638 380.  Be careful, be vigilant and don’t relax where these baits are concerned!


  • Baits can only be safely used inside ceilings where pet access is impossible
  • Use conventional mouse traps or non-return cage traps for more pet friendly alternatives
  • Store bulk baits in locked cabinets or latched cupboards
  • Remember, bleeding symptoms take 3 days to develop AFTER consumption of rodent poison, so don’t relax just because signs aren’t immediate.


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