The Hidden Dangers a Mouse can Bring
While we spend so much time working to provide balanced diets, adequate amounts of enrichment, exercise, and affection we often forget we can’t protect our pets from every danger. Mosquitoes are everywhere carrying heartworm disease. Ticks are an unavoidable evil in our area incubating an enormous amount of diseases from Lyme to Rocky Mountain. However protecting them from Rodenticides is within our power.
Dogs and cats in this area are fortunate enough to have acres and acres of lush farmland to play and explore on, but it is important to know what they are coming in contact with since most pets explore with their noses and taste buds. Many farmers rely on rodenticides to protect their grain storage, crops, and to keep disease and fleas away from their farms. Rodenticides are extremely attractive and dangerous to dogs and cats alike. Even if your pets are unable to leave your property, mice will sometimes bring pieces of bait back to their nest BEFORE ingesting. And this nest may not only be on your property, but along their daily walking path.
The first type of attack is with the use of anticoagulant chemicals.
They cause uncontrollable bleeding. The first signs are usually small, pinpoint hemorrhaging along the thin skin of the ear pinna, underbelly, and mucus membranes of the mouth. Dogs are more sensitive to this poison than cats. They are very alluring to dogs because they contain grains and are sweet to the taste. If caught in time doctors will treat with doses of vitamin K1 and help your pet through this toxicity.
The second form is phosohides. This method is often only used for gopher or mole baits. It takes a VERY small amount of poison to become toxic to your pet and is made worse by feeding your pet. When the poison comes into contact with stomach gas the reaction causes the production of deadly phosphine gas. If your pet vomits
the gases in the vomit are enough to cause a toxic reaction in you. If there is vomiting associated with ingesting this poison make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Common signs are excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, swollen or painful abdomen, diarrhea, and seizures. Your petmust be taken to a doctor immediately to offer successful and safe treatment.
The third type, and perhaps most dangerous, is cholecalciferol. There is no cure for this form of toxicity and it takes a very small amount of poison to cause toxicity. It causes kidney failure and is often not detected for 24-48 hours post ingesting, and within 48-72 hours there is irreversible damage to the kidneys. It is almost the most common form of Rodenticides. This poison causes extremely high levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body attacking the kidneys and causing rapid kidney failure. There is no antidote to this toxicity. Signs are easily mistaken for other ailments. Signs include increased thirst and urination, lethargy, decreased appetite, and a change in your pet’s breath.
When we think about breeds of dogs finding trouble exploring, pugs are not in the forefront of our minds. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago a loving and adorable pug named Mosby did just that. He went for his normal morning walk looking for a private place to perform his morning rituals. Sniffing and snorting as only pugs will do. He spent the rest of the day with his owners. He started to show signs of difficulty breathing. Pugs often have a difficult time dealing with the heat and this was a warm summer day. As the day progressed however, he started to show signs of fever and intense lethargy. After a few quick texts shared with our doctor Mosby was taken to an emergency hospital. After a few hours Mosby past and it was determine he had ingested Rodenticides earlier in the day. The owner (and all of us at Animals First) were shocked. They have never had these poisons on their farm and Mosby's symptoms were so mild and easily attributed to something else.
Hindsight is 20/20. We wish we could have put this together, but even with seeing him it would not have been our first diagnosis because of his lifestyle. He was a wonderful companion for his family and our Animals First family and we will miss him greatly. His owners were gracious enough to allow us to share his story to help the rest of our clinic family spot the signs and symptoms much earlier. We recommend playing it safe whenever Rodenticides are involved. If there is a suspected ingestion, please call a vet right away. Do not induce vomiting as research shows toxic fumes may happen. If the packaging is available please bring it with you to the vet.