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NEW RAT BAITS MORE DANGEROUS FOR PETS
written by Katie Liu, DVM
Traditionally, anticoagulant rat baits have been the most abundant rodenticide available for residential use. These toxins deplete the body stores of vitamin K, reduce blood clotting and at toxic doses, lead to internal bleeding within 3-5 days of ingestion. The good news is that there are effective tests and most importantly, an antidote (vitamin K) for cases of exposure and even those with active bleeding.
New regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recently banned the use of these long-acting anticoagulant rat baits in the residential setting. The intent was to make rat baits safer for children, pets and wildlife who may inadvertently ingest the toxins. However, alternative toxins pose a greater threat; many manufacturers have begun replacing anticoagulants with bromethalin, a potent neurotoxin with rapid onset of action and no available test or antidote.
Treatment involving the reduction of toxin absorption in the first couple of hours after ingestion carries the best prognosis. However, once an animal begins showing neurological signs, including abnormal behavior, incoordination, depression, hypersensitivity, seizures or coma, usually within 2 to 24 hours of ingestion, successful treatment is difficult and costly.
Our recommendations include avoiding potential exposure:
Do not purchase or putting bromethalin rodenticides on your property, even in areas considered inaccessible by children and pets.
Ensure that everyone with access to your property, such as gardeners or landscapers, does not put out these toxins.
Inform and educate friends and family with pets or who you pets may spend time with about these rodenticides.
Finally, if you suspect your pet has been exposed to any toxin, seek immediate veterinary care and bring any packaging of the suspected toxin.