Accidental Poisoning: What You Should Know

heart murmur in dogs
Poisoned Sick Dog in bed

On June 1, new EPA regulations went into effect with regard to rodenticides.

The primary change which has gone into effect is the ban of a common type of rodent poison — anticoagulants. Other regulations have been implemented, including where rodenticides can be sold, and in what quantity.

According to Dr. Camille DeClementi, senior director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the new EPA regulations, overall, are good, but pet owners need to be aware that with the ban of anticoagulant rodenticides, there will most likely be an increase in the use of alternative poisons.

Bromethalin and Cholecalciferol will most likely become more commonplace in the battle against rodents.

Unfortunately, Bromethalin, which causes neurological problems, is almost impossible to treat after a pet (any animal for that matter) has ingested it and begins to show symptoms.

Cholecalciferol — another extremely toxic chemical — can be treated; however, the treatment is expensive and extensive (and the prognosis is poor after symptoms have manifested).

These two ingredients will replace the commonly used anticoagulant rodenticides (such as Warfarin), for which vitamin K therapy is very effective.

The ideal way to avoid accidental poison is prevention: avoid using these products whenever possible. Unfortunately, you have no control over your neighbors.

If you suspect your dog has consumed any of these substances, try to bring a sample with you to the vet so they know how to best treat your dog. Many vets will not yet be aware of this change and may try to use vitamin K on your dog, so if you suspect the poison is not Warfarin, try to bring a sample of the package with you.

These new products are much more toxic than anticoagulants so there are important steps you can take at home to give your dog the best chance of a successful outcome.

  1. Give your dog granular, activated charcoal.  Mix five heaping teaspoons in a glass of water and give it to your dog by spoon or syringe.  Depending on the size of your dog, he will need 1/4 cup to a full cup, depending on his size.
  2. Give Nux vomica 30c every 15 minutes for a total of three doses.  Discontinue treatment if symptoms worsen.
  3. Keep your dog as warm and quiet as possible.
  4. Bring your dog to the nearest vet as soon as possible.

According to Dr. DeClementi, many of the new EPA regulations are beneficial — no longer will bait be sold in pellets; instead it will be in bars and tamper-resistant bait stations — and the amount that a general consumer can purchase is now limited — but pet owners need to be aware of the alternative chemicals which will be used in place of the anticoagulants.

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