Rodenticides are chemicals produced to kill rodents. It’s most commonly used to get rid of rats. However, in some cases dogs can also get their paws on it. If your dog by some chance ate a bigger amount of rodenticides, he may show symptoms of poisoning. This could possibly lead to a serious medical condition and even be lethal. However, there are ways to help. Vitamin K1 for dogs with rodenticide poisoning can often be the antidote. But there are some things to consider.
Rodenticide poisoning in dogs
Worryingly, many modern rodenticides have a nice flavour in order to attract animals. In some cases they could even look like a yummy snack. That’s why these types of poisoning aren’t rare in dogs.
There are several different types of rat poison and they all act differently depending on the poisonous ingredient they contain.
The most common types of rat poison are anticoagulant rodenticides which prevent the blood from clotting. This then leads to internal
bleeding and death.
Other varieties include substances that cause kidney failure (cholecalciferol) or brain swelling (bromethalin).
However, if you do decide to use a rodenticide, we highly encourage you to choose anticoagulants over others types. There is an antidote available for this kind of rodenticide poisoning. That could possibly save the life of your kids or animals. Common anticoagulant rodenticides are: brodifacoum, dopaquinone, warfarin, bromadiolone, and others.
Most of these rat poisons have a specific green color. However, that won’t have any effect on the fact that your dog may try to eat it. Dogs and cats have poor color vision. In fact, dogs don’t even see green. Read here which colors a dog can see.
Symptoms of poisoning
It may take several days for your dog to show any symptoms at all after eating the toxic dose.
Anticoagulant rodenticides cause internal bleeding. The symptoms won’t be obvious externally until there is some severe damage done.
Signs of internal bleeding can include:
- Weakness and lethargy
- Vomiting or coughing blood
- Nose bleeds
- Bleeding from the gums
- Bleeding when doing the toilet
- Blood in stools
- Breathing difficulties
Vitamin K1 for dogs with Rodenticide poisoning
There are three different forms of vitamin K. However, only vitamin K1 is used therapeutically.
Vitamin K1 is a natural form of vitamin K that is found in plants and absorbed nutritionally. The official name of Vitamin K1 is phylloquinone.
Vitamin K2, or also menaquinone is natural derivative too. It’s produced by the body’s intestinal bacteria. However, the amounts aren’t large enough to help with an rat poison overdose.
Vitamin K3 (menadione) is a synthetic version of Vitamin K. It’s often found in supplements.
Vitamin K1 and vitamin K3 are all converted to vitamin K2 within the body. While Vitamin K3 may be inexpensive, it can also be toxic in some rare cases.
Vitamin K1 is used for dogs with rodenticide poisoning because it’s easily absorbed by the intestines and can be concentrated directly in the liver. That will activate the K-factors in the body that are important for blood clotting. Over time, that will stop the internal bleeding.
That’s why only vitamin K1 should be considered to be the antidote for anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning.
How is Vitamin K1 used?
In most cases, Vitamin K1 is delivered via an injection. When the patient is stable, tablets are an option as well.
In more severe cases blood transfusion will be needed to help a dog suffering from extreme blood loss due to internal bleeding.
One tricky thing about anticoagulant rodenticides
is that they can remain in the body for up to several weeks. This will make it hard to decide when to stop the therapy. Especially if you are not sure which rodenticide your dog took.
Usually, after a couple of weeks the rodenticide is discontinued. To make sure that the poison is out of your dog’s system, a PT test is run. The test will tell your vet if a few more weeks of vitamin K1 therapy will be needed for your dog.
It’s important to not fully discontinue the medications without taking the PT test first. Especially if you are unsure which rat poison your dog took. The test is done 48 hours after your dog’s last Vitamin K1 dose and it will check if the formation of blood cloths in your dog’s body is normal. If blood cloths don’t form, internal bleeding may happen.
Only when the PT test has returned to normal, it’s safe to discontinue Vitamin K1.