Many rodenticide (rat poison) products contain green dyes to make them stand out. Unfortunately, dogs and cats have poor color vision and often mistake these poison pellets for kibbled pet food. Read Zoey's story below; it is an interesting case that every pet parent can learn from.
Zoey is a 17 month old terrier mix with a friendly and curious personality — so curious that she had a history of chewing and eating things she shouldn't. Her parents recently moved into a house with a neglected yard. After the move, Zoey started coughing and vomiting, so they brought her to Mountain Shadow Veterinary Hospital.
Zoey's x-rays and blood work were normal and she was treated for a general gastrointestinal upset. A few days later though, Zoey's throat swelled up and she started coughing up blood. She also had blood in her stool, so Zoey's parents brought her back to us.
Since the move, Zoey's parents were finding green bricks in the yard and, at this second appointment, they brought in a picture of one of these bricks. The bricks were immediately recognized as rat poison! Zoey had been slowly poisoning herself with these bricks that were hidden in the tall grass.
Zoey was immediately put on fluids and Vitamin K and a blood clotting panel was sent out. The results of the clotting panel were very abnormal, confirming a clotting disorder due to rodenticide toxicity. There are many different types of rodenticides, but anticoagulant rodenticides work by abolishing Vitamin K, which is an essential factor in the clotting of blood.
Therefore, a critical part of treatment for rodenticide toxicity is supplementation of Vitamin K along with supportive care until the body can start clotting again on its own. Symptoms of rodenticide toxicity can sometimes take days to show and may not necessarily cause obvious bleeding. Most times the bleeding is internal and cannot be identified without specific diagnostics.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending. Zoey responded very well to treatment and is now home with her family and completely back to normal!