Pets

Caution: Kill the pests, not the pets

 

khulyp@bellsouth.net

Q: Our dog ate rat poison the neighbor had used near the fence-line between our properties. She was unaware how toxic some of these poisons can be (and how far our dog’s snout could reach through the chain-link fence). Tippy survived, but only after intensive care for kidney failure. Could you let readers know how deadly these poisons are?

A: The Pet Poison Helpline reports that it receives dozens of calls daily about these common toxins. Rodenticides also make the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center’s list of 10 most toxic substances to pets. Pets can ingest the bait directly or eat the already-poisoned rodents.

Many compounds in all sorts of packaging are marketed as rodenticides, and pet owners are often misled into believing some are safe for use around pets. Here are the most common:

Zinc, calcium and aluminum phosphides: These kill by releasing phosphide gasses inside the animal, leading to painful abdominal distension and liver damage.

Bromethalin: This extra-lethal toxin causes deadly swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). The toxic dose is very low –– especially for cats who might consume the carcasses of poisoned rodents.

Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3): This highly toxic compound is gaining traction in the rodenticide marketplace. It works by increasing calcium and phosphorus levels, which results in acute kidney failure.

Anticoagulants: This toxin, which prevents the blood from clotting, has killed more dogs and cats than any other rodenticide –– partly because it affects pets after days or weeks with few advance symptoms. Luckily, there is an antidote, prescription-strength Vitamin K1.

Clearly, rodenticides are among the most dangerous pet toxins. Consider yourself lucky that Tippy pulled through.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Talking dog: 'Problem' pooch may stem from owner's misbehavior

    Last month I had a particularly challenging client to work with, and as usual, I'm not describing the dog. More often than not, what we trainers are called out to work on is a "problem dog," a stubborn dog, a dog that just "won't listen." Usually 90 percent of the issue is the miscommunication between dog and owner and the inappropriate actions the owner has taken that create the problem.

  • Animal Island: Help me introduce new cat to my pets

    Q: I have three cats and a dog, all neutered males. I recently brought home a very friendly female feral cat (spayed, shots, etc.). She is about 6 or 7 years old. Two of my cats were feral rescues at 5 weeks old who are now 2. The other cat recently moved in about 8 months ago because some neighbors left him. He is about 6 or 7 years old. He still goes outside on occasion, because that's what he is used to. My black Lab is approaching 15.

  • Pet Vet: Dealing with an itchy problem

    Skin problems, particularly itchy skin problems, can be quite frustrating to deal with, both as a caretaker trying to help our companion, and as a veterinarian with the same goal.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category