What is Vitamin K Therapy?
Dogs are known to get into and eat just about anything. However, many household products are dangerous and can poison your dog. A common poison for dogs to find and eat is rodent or rat poison. Despite your best efforts to keep your dog away from such toxins, even the best-behaved dogs have found their way into places they do not belong. If you’ve suspected your dog has eaten rodent or rat poison, have your veterinarian examine your dog immediately. Because of Vitamin K’s potent clotting factor properties, your veterinarian will likely start Vitamin K therapy for your dog if they have ingested such a toxin.
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Vitamin K Therapy Procedure in Dogs
It is imperative to take your dog to your local veterinarian’s office or a nearby emergency animal hospital if your dog has ingested this type of toxin or if you suspect your dog has ingested a poison. Once you are with your veterinarian, the techs will do a blood CBC (Complete Blood Count) and run diagnostics to determine the poison and amount in the bloodstream. Your veterinarian will start Vitamin K therapy in the office with a parenteral injection dose of Vitamin K. Your veterinarian may also administer activated charcoal to your dog to absorb toxins. Once your dog is stable and ready to go home with you, your veterinarian will send you home with Vitamin K pills to administer to your dog daily for the following four to six weeks. Your dog will need to visit your veterinarian for regular blood work during this time to monitor blood coagulation and potential anemia.
If your dog’s condition is more severe, your veterinarian may request to hospitalize the dog. The most serious cases could include whole blood transfusions.
No matter the length of stay at the veterinary hospital, once your dog is cleared for release, you will have to continue the Vitamin K therapy at home.
Efficacy of Vitamin K Therapy in Dogs
There is a strong correlation between the type of poison the dog ingested and how quickly the dog was administered charcoal and Vitamin K therapy and the rate of efficacy. In order for Vitamin K therapy to work, your dog needs to be seen right away. The fewer toxins ingested and the larger the dog, the better chance of survival for the animal. However, either way, immediate treatment is necessary no matter the size of the dog. If the poison is not known, your veterinarian will assumedly base treatment on the most dangerous of toxins. Warfarin is an anticoagulant and the easiest of the rodent toxins to treat. The other toxin commonly used to eliminate rats and mice is a neurotoxin and more dangerous. If you are unsure which poison your dog ingested, you veterinarian may treat for the more aggressive toxin. The more information you can offer your vet, the better chances of survival your dog will have.
Once your dog is well and has completed Vitamin K therapy, your veterinarian may still test on a regular basis for anemia and require Vitamin K supplements or iron supplements to improve the condition of your dog’s blood.
Vitamin K Therapy Recovery in Dogs
Once your dog starts Vitamin K therapy, it could be up to a week before the depleted blood supply is replenished and rid of the toxins. You’ll need to watch your dog closely as he will be at risk of bleeding for several days. Your dog will need to recover in a quiet area with minimal activity. Keep your dog calm and walk on a leash only for elimination purposes. Your veterinarian will discuss your dog’s diet before leaving their care. Your dog may be placed on a soft diet under supervision. It will take a few weeks of quiet rest for the Vitamin K to replenish the clotting factors in your dog’s blood.
Cost of Vitamin K Therapy in Dogs
Vitamin K Therapy will cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000. Depending on how many office visits your dog requires, the type of initial treatment, and how long your dog will need Vitamin K therapy, this cost could be higher.
An office visit with your veterinarian should cost about $50. The cost of the Vitamin K shot and the vitamin K supplements for the weeks to follow will be about $150 to $300. The necessary blood work and follow-up exams will be $300 to $500 in total.
However, a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital could cause your costs to double or triple. Also, if a blood transfusion in necessary, these costs could be higher as well.
Dog Vitamin K Therapy Considerations
If your dog has been poisoned, please get to the veterinarian or emergency animal hospital right away. Anticoagulant rat or rodent poisoning is meant to cause animals to bleed out. This is a life-threatening form of poisoning which needs to be treated as soon as possible. Vitamin K therapy has a high rate of efficacy if poisoning is caught early. If treatment is delayed, your dog may be bleeding internally without signs. Even after Vitamin K therapy, your dog may still be at risk of anemia so blood work may become routine at regular office visits following the Vitamin K therapy.
Vitamin K Therapy Prevention in Dogs
The absolute most effective way to prevent poisoning of your dog is to keep your dog away from toxins. If you must rid your property of rodents, you can trap and release elsewhere. Be vigilant about keeping an eye on your pets if you must treat your property with poisons. When possible, remember to look for how rats are entering the premises and hide the poison in small areas your dog cannot access. Also, be very careful when you let your dog roam freely. Other properties may have poison readily available for your dog to find and eat. Keep your dog on a leash when walking or stay with a free-roaming dog for supervised outdoor play.
Vitamin K Therapy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Today I caught my female Labrador who is 58 days pregnant eating rat poison but I wasn’t sure if she had actually digested any, I phoned my local vet who instructed me to get plenty of salt into her mouth and make sure it was swallowed which I did and she vomited within a few minutes, there were no signs of the rat poison in her vomit but I took her to the vets anyway and he gave her a vitamin K injection as a precaution, she has to have further injections.
I have since read online that a pregnant dog should not be given vitamin K, is this true if she had not eaten any poison?
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What if I forget to give my puppy (3 month, Shepard) vitamin k? I usually give him a half pill at night for his meal. He managed to get a hold of rat poison. No internal bleeding.
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