Cayman's Rat Bait Scare

Cayman is a lovable ten year old Labrador who visits our Stirling clinic. On a Monday morning In early September, he presented to Dr Nina with a few worrying signs.

Over the weekend his owners had noticed he had become quieter and now was not wanting to eat his food, definitely not normal for a Labrador! They also advised Dr Nina that Cayman is very sociable and they often found him visiting their neighbours, on one particular occasion the week prior to his vet visit he had been missing for most of the evening and only found his way home in the early hours of the morning! It was a few days after this that they noticed some green faeces being passed and now his faeces were very dark in colour.

On examination, Dr Nina noted pale mucous membranes and an increased heart rate. Cayman didn’t want to stand, despite his wagging tail. These observations, along with Dr Nina’s concern that the dark coloured faeces was caused by digested blood, resulted in her suspecting he had ingested rat bait. Bloods were immediately taken and tested - using our in-house pathology machines the bloods were completed very quickly, showing that Cayman was in fact anaemic. Dr Nina’s suspicion of rat bait toxicity was further confirmed with prolonged clotting times.

The ingestion of rat bait causes dangerously prolonged clotting times in the blood, which over a short period of time results in excessive internal bleeding, possible haemorrhaging and leads to the death of the animal that has ingested it.

Treatment started straight away with Vitamin K (Phytomenadione) and supportive care, but unfortunately Cayman had lost so much blood that he needed a blood transfusion.

The staff at the Stirling clinic contacted one their wonderful blood donor dogs, who came to the rescue and donated blood, so a fresh transfusion could occur. The transfusion was administered to Cayman carefully, with a dedicated nurse monitoring him and his vital signs in great detail along the way to ensure everything went smoothly.

The transfusion was a success and once Cayman was well enough he was sent home for some much need rest and recuperation with his loving and dedicated owners. Part of his recovery meant he was given his medications for several weeks to ensure that he did not start to haemorrhage again.

Cayman’s presentation – a week after ingesting the rat bait – is not uncommon due to the slow effect of the rat bait, resulting in a slow internal bleeding. Thankfully Cayman’s owners noticed that he was not himself and sought help in time.

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