Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor do I recommend any of the home remedies that I listed below. I am merely sharing an experience. If you and your pet are facing an emergency, please contact actual medical professionals.
Dog parents: I know you will agree with me when I say that there has never been a more stressful time than when your dog is sick… like seriously sick. Well, one day, my dog ate rat poison. Do I have your attention yet?
It was September and the heat from the summertime seemed to be unending. Somehow, in our teeny apartment, no matter what we do or whatever interventions we try, we almost always have mice! There are periods of time when we won’t see them and then there are periods of time when we feel like we can’t sleep because every little sound feels like a mouse. And nevermind that one of my dogs is a terrier mix and that (historically) terriers were originally bred to hunt and exterminate rodents.
Picture this: I’m on my lunch break at work and my partner calls my cell. He never calls, I thought to myself, as we are big texters. I pick up and he’s breathless and panicked when he tells me that the dogs have gotten into rat poison. I thought I was going to be sick.
Now I know what you’re wondering: What kind of animal-loving, pet-owning monster would have rat poison in their home?! Well, rewind five days earlier when our landlord sent over exterminators to look into our complaints of mice sightings droppings! Nervously, we reminded exterminator that we had dogs – not that he couldn’t hear their barking in the other room. We crated them so he can do a thorough search through the apartment. He insisted that the bait boxes would be out of sight and unreachable to the dogs. Again, I warned him that, even if the dogs can’t get to the bait boxes, if a mouse dies after having eaten the rat poison and dies where my dogs can get to it, that can also be harmful to my dogs. I reluctantly agreed to let him leave bait boxes and the drama begins here.
The Monday after the bait boxes were put down, I was walking out of my apartment when I caught a glimpse of a bait box, seemingly unreachable. I hesitated and then walked out of my apartment. Looking back now, that was my sign. I should have tossed all the bait boxes then and there.
I was frozen on the phone and as dramatic as it sounds, I felt helpless. I quickly snapped out of it and told my partner to give the dogs hydrogen peroxide in order to induce vomiting; here is a link to some HP dosing that I found really helpful. In these instances, my boyfriend freezes. I angrily made him snap out of it as I talk him through who to give the hydrogen peroxide to first. It was obvious that our bigger dog was the one that got to the bait box; it was ripped to shreds. We knew that he wasn’t going to share any of that enticing decadent rat poison; and upon inspection, he was the only one with green bits in his mouth and teeth.
Unsurprisingly, my partner administered the hydrogen peroxide and a few minutes later, my big dog is vomiting green.
My partner immediately takes Benny to the vet once he seems to have calmed down from vomiting. While he waits for the vet, he calls the exterminator company that left the bait boxes and confirmed that the rodenticide used was that with anticoagulant properties. Our veterinarian assured us that this is more common than we thought and that there was hope. Finally, a sliver of hope. She suggested giving Benny activated charcoal, in order to prevent further absorption of the toxins. Then she suggested blood work to check on his levels of Vitamin K; this part was optional and she said it would be a good idea to run the test after he has taken his course of Vitamin K tablets – it seemed like he had to take them forever!
The end of an ordeal
In the end, he lived and we were out $356, but because we had insurance for Benny, we got $64.55. That doesn’t sound like much after insurance because at the point before that, we didn’t yet meet our $250 deductible. Benny is happy and healthy and still getting into anything and everything her can!
Side notes: For those who wonder if insurance is worth it, I say yes. It is only after we’ve shelled out ~$1,200 and ~$3,300 in the past canine medical bills that we’ve learned our lesson. And to think, we could have gotten 90% of that ~$4,500 back.
I want to thank the staff at Animal Clinic & Hospital of Jersey City, especially Dr. Beard. They quoted us fairly and were reassuring. I cannot thank them enough.