When a kelpie cross came into the Bega Veterinary Hospital on October 11, with internal bleeding from ingesting rat bait, it found itself in desperate need for a blood transfusion.
Help came in the form of a wolfhound cross named Bruce, owned by Kate Madden, who donated 450ml of blood to save the life of the affected dog.
"That's a lot of blood for Bruce to donate, as his total blood volume is about four litres," Bega Vets operations manager Raelene Flower said.
Ms Flower said because of the recent mouse plague, the Bega vets are still seeing a lot of dogs come in with mouse and rat bait poisoning.
"The mice have reduced in numbers, but people still have their baits out, so clean up your bait stations and keep your pets away," she said.
"In Australia, most rat and mouse baits are anticoagulants, which means they work by preventing the blood from clotting."
Ms Flower said over the past week they have seen multiple pets affected by rat and mouse bait poisoning.
She warned some pet owners may see their pet eat rat bait and because it doesn't make them "immediately sick", they don't think their pet has been poisoned.
"This is far from the truth, a few days after a toxic dose, affected animals start bleeding internally," Ms Flower said.
"If you see your pet eat rat bait you must contact a vet within two hours, so that we can make your pet vomit the rat bait up and provide you with medication for your pet to ensure their blood continues to clot effectively."
Ms Flower said initial signs that your pet may have eaten rat bait include: Blue or green dye in vomit, faeces, or around the mouth (as most rat baits have a blue or green dye in them).
Progressive signs that your pet may have eaten rat bait and is bleeding internally include:
- Lethargy & reluctance to exercise
- Pale gums
- Panting or heavy breathing
- Swollen abdomen
- Coughing or vomiting blood
- Blood in the faeces
- Swollen joints and lameness
Ms Flower said if your pet was showing these progressive signs you must take it to your closest veterinarian immediately.
"If your pet is coughing or vomiting blood, or collapsed your pet must be seen urgently," she said.
If you have any questions about rat bait poisoning, contact the Bega Veterinary Hospital staff on 6492 1837.
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