Rat-bait toxicity Blog by Dr Jana

Rat-bait toxicity in a cat who ate a rat!

Gracie, a sweet domestic short hair (DSH) cat, usually has an appetite for rats and mice, and had eaten a rat at the start of May, which didn’t sit quite right with her and she vomited it up. Then 2 days later she presented to our clinic not being herself, quiet and lethargic. The vets noticed she was breathing quickly and had slightly paler gums than usual. When she was admitted in hospital she had small amounts of blood in her urine and a blood test revealed anemia. Further work up was done to determine where the source of the bleeding was from, so we conducted a blood test to determine whether she had the ability to clot and recommended for her to be monitored after hours at Advanced Vet Care while we get the results of the blood test.

Gracie at AVC

The blood result arrived showing that she had a reduced blood clotting ability, most likely as a result of secondary rodenticide toxicity from ingesting a rat/mouse that had been baited. This is usually quite rare, as cat’s usually don’t ingest rat bait unlike dogs, but they can be affected if they ingest rats who have been baited.

Gracie was started on oral vitamin K therapy which is necessary in the clotting pathway in order for the blood to have an ability to clot. Rodenticides target vitamin K and deplete the body’s stores. She needed to be on a vitamin K therapy for 4 weeks until the body would generate it’s own vitamin K necessary for clotting to take place.  Gracie finished her vitamin K medications last week and after repeating her clotting parameters, they were within normal range.

Gracie and brother Felix pictured

We are very thankful Gracie’s parents responded so quickly, as it was a life-threatening situation.

Written by: Dr Jana Kragic (2018)