What is Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning?
Long-acting anticoagulants are commonly known poisons that are used to kill rats and mice. As the name refers, long-acting anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting thus killing mice and rats as they bleed internally. Once ingested, hemorrhages develop within the body and they begin to bleed. The symptoms of poisoning take approximately 3 to 5 days to develop to the point where the symptoms are visible. Only a very small quantity of long-acting anticoagulants can be extremely toxic to dogs.
Long-acting anticoagulants in rodent poison can be found in a variety of places, such as garages, farms, stables, homes, and in areas of parks and wildlife. There is also a great variety of these types of poisons and they can come in different forms, namely bait blocks, grain-based, powders, and pellets. These popular types of rats and mice poisons work in the same way in which blood-thinning medications work in humans, and if dogs ingest these types of medications, toxicity can occur in this method as well.
Long-acting anticoagulant poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs ingest anticoagulants from either rodent poison or from human anticoagulant medications. Anticoagulants prevent the blood from clotting, thus causing severe hemorrhaging if ingested.
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Symptoms of Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has consumed a long-acting anticoagulant, the poisoning has already begun soon after it has been ingested. However, they are not usually noticed for a few days. Symptoms of long-acting anticoagulant poisoning include:
- Internal bleeding
- Very pale gums
- Difficulty breathing
- Resistance to exercise
- Blood in the feces
- Blood in the urine
- Swelling of the joints
If you are not suspicious of any rodent poisoning in your dog’s system, but your dog is having symptoms similar to those of rodent poisons, your veterinarian will have to rule out other conditions. Types of differential diagnoses are:
- Disseminated intravascular coagulation
- Von Willebrand disease
- Deficiencies in the number of platelets
- Congenital deficiencies
Causes of Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is out of your view and consumes medications or rodenticides that contain anticoagulants, symptoms may not appear right away. Long-acting anticoagulant poisoning in dogs is caused by:
- The ingestion of rodent poison
- The ingestion of medications that contain anticoagulants
- The anticoagulants stop blood from clotting by halting vitamin K (the enzyme complex)
- Internal hemorrhaging over a few days
Diagnosis of Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning in Dogs
If you have a suspicion that your dog has ingested mice or rat poison, take him to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will make a diagnosis after asking questions about the dog’s environment and if there are any poisons that he could have gotten into. The veterinarian will also ask you questions about your knowledge of the dog possibly ingesting long-acting anticoagulants.
The tests the veterinarian performs will be based upon the chances of the dog being poisoned by long-acting anticoagulants. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and test the contents of the stomach, performance serum analysis, or test the plasma of the dog; all can be tested and analyzed for the evidence of anticoagulant in the dog’s system. Many veterinarians have a specific screening test that detects many of the anticoagulants that are on the market today. These tests check for the presence of anticoagulants in the kidneys, liver, serum, and plasma.
Treatment of Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning in Dogs
The preferred method of treatment of long-acting anticoagulant poisoning in dogs is vitamin K1. Treatment includes:
Dosages of Vitamin K1
Vitamin K1 is the antidote for long-acting anticoagulant poisoning. Most poisonings in dogs are caused by second-generation anticoagulant agents, and the veterinarian will prescribe the correct dosage and timeframe of administering this antidote. The veterinarian may also recommend that the vitamin K1 be given with cheese, milk, or another type of fatty substance; vitamin K1 is absorbed more effectively when combined with fat.
Intravenous Plasma or Blood
If bleeding is present, plasma or blood may be given in order to replenish clotting and red blood cells. In addition to this, oxygen therapy may also be given.
During the first seven days of vitamin K1 therapy, treatment will also include lots of rest and very limited activity. The dog must do this in order to allow any trauma to the tissues to heal and to minimize any bleeding.
Recovery of Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has been successfully treated for anticoagulant poisoning, he will need to be rechecked every 24 hours to be sure the blood is clotting properly. Once the veterinarian feels the dog is healing, you may be able to take him home; however, the veterinarian will need to see him again within the next few days to be sure that coagulation is taking place.
Once you are home with your dog, it will be very important to monitor him and watch for any new symptoms. The veterinarian will give you instructions on how to properly care for your dog and will let you know what to watch for in terms of negative symptoms. It is very important to contact your veterinarian if you become concerned with any behavioral changes and to precisely follow the instructions the veterinarian has given you. What is more important is that if any mice or rat poison is in your home to remove it or properly store it to prevent any further poisoning from occurring.
Long-acting Anticoagulants Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My 40lb (spayed) dog ate up to 50g of .005% Bromadiolone containing pellets yesterday afternoon, which she found after opening the kitchen cabinet while we were out. I found the packet between 1 and 3 hours after ingestion and called my vet, the emergency clinic, and ASPCA Poison control immediately. Poison control directed me to induce vomiting with peroxide, and she promptly evacuated a large amount of blue-green and dusty vomit. They recommended I take her to the vet for coagulation tests and maybe K1 treatment but that emergency fluids and monitoring weren't necessary (the vet had directed me to the emergency clinic for overnight care). We went to our vet today. They took a blood sample but didn't do a clotting test, or let me tell them what or how much she'd ingested or when. After about 30hours, she's showed no symptoms, but I'm concerned about the lethal dose and half-life of the poison and the possibility of late-onset symptoms and poor clotting should she hurt herself. Is there an acute risk at this point?
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Hello my puppy who's about 15 weeks old ate the corner of a d-con mice poisoning cube. We took him to the vet about 2.5 hours after ingestion, he vomited most of it out and got treatment right away. We found some of it in his stool after we took him to the vet. We gave him charcoal (prescribed) for 2 days and have been giving him his dose of vitamin K1 that was prescribed. He seems to be doing fine, and it's been 3 days since the ingestion. He was pretty active all day and has been sleeping for a while. I'm not sure if it's because he is tired or if it is an issue. He hasn't ate a whole lot today, but still has ate about 1/2 cup of food. Will he be ok? Or should I be worried?
With a case of poisoning I cannot say that Dexter is going to be OK without examining him; but given his age, the time between ingestion and treatment as well as the treatment received I would say that the lethargy is possibly due to the treatment, activated charcoal can be quite difficult to pass and he maybe feeling some discomfort. If you have any further concerns speak with your Veterinarian as Dexter is under their duty of care. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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