Rat Poison (fluoride) Remedy by Dr. Peter Kross, DVM
Our dog ate some rat poison. I read I should give her vitamin K--should I give it as a pill or in another form?
Dogs commonly eat rat poison, as it is left around areas where dogs can get to it and they love it since it is provided in morsels of food to attract rats. If you think your pet has recently (in the last hour or so) ingested rat poison, try to induce vomiting by administering hydrogen peroxide by mouth (you can also accomplish this with salted water or ipecac if you have some). For small dogs, give a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide; for large dogs, a shot glass or comparable amount.
If you can't do this, get to a veterinary hospital and have the vet try to evacuate your dog's stomach. If your pet ingested the poison, Vitamin K is the antidote of choice and should be given initially as an injection by your vet, followed by pills or capsules for up to six weeks. The injection is safest if given intramuscularly or subcutaneously, as some dogs have a violent allergic reaction if given the product intravenously. The length of time to give the Vitamin K pills depends on the variety of rat poison ingested. Some are very long-acting and require the full six weeks of therapy. We recommend testing your pet's blood for its ability to clot after stopping the antidote, usually two days later. The poison involved causes hemorrhaging since it interferes with the blood's ability to form clots. Pets can easily die from the poison.
I had one patient who got into rat poison after moving into a new apartment where the previous owner had placed the stuff in question under the radiator. The dog sniffed it out and ingested it immediately. The owner was fortunate enough to have noticed this and took immediate action. I've had other situations where animals died because no one knew they had eaten rat poison until after they started hemorrhaging, at which time it was too late to save them. Whenever there is a question of doubt, we go ahead and treat with Vitamin K, as it can't hurt them. I would definitely advise that you involve your vet in deciding how much Vitamin K to give and for how long.
Dr. Peter Kross, DVM, has had his own veterinary practice, the Rivergate Veterinary Clinic in New York City, since 1989. He lives in Manhattan with his three white boxers, Buchanan, Wilhelmina and Laila.
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