Dr George Corones from Bathurst Veterinary Hospital said a number of sick dogs and cats had been taken into the surgery recently, with a treasured family cat dying after eating a rodent bait.
“If you do have to [lay] baits, you need to be careful; they can also kill your domestic animals,” Dr Corones said.
The main ingredient in all rodenticides is an anticoagulant which, if left untreated, will cause an animal to die from internal bleeding.
Principal veterinarian at Durham Street Veterinary Clinic, Dr Ian Billinghurst, said any pets that had eaten a bait should be taken immediately to the vet.
“It’s very insidious [the bait] and attacks the liver’s ability to make the blood clotting substances. The modern rodenticide is very savage,” Dr Billinghurst said.
There are two types of rodenticides used in Australia: “first generation”, with an active ingredient of Warfarin or Coumatetralyl, and “second generation”, with Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone and Difenacoum.
Dr Corones said first generation baits are not as effective on rodents or pets, while the second generation have fatal consequences for both.
He said it’s not just pets on farms that are affected by baits, but also pets in town, and any ingestion is an emergency requiring urgent veterinary treatment for pets.
“It’s much easier to get rid of it [the poison] before the toxins start to work,” he said.
Dr Terri Eckel from Bathurst Veterinary Hospital said a pet does not need to eat the bait directly to be fatally affected by it.
George the labrador was brought into Bathurst Veterinary Hospital last weekend after eating a mouse that had died from the bait.
Dr Eckel said George was unable to walk and was having difficulty breathing after eating the rodent.
“He had collapsed and lost a lot of blood from an internal haemorrhage. It was a very serious case. He couldn’t stand and [was having] a lot of difficulty breathing,” she said.
Dr Eckel said there are treatments available for pets who have eaten a bait and it is not a lost cause if your dog has collapsed.
“The safest option is don’t bait … if you do, be conscious about the signs [of poisoning],” she said.