Middleton emergency vet sees spike in rat poison cases - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Middleton emergency vet sees spike in rat poison cases

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MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- A warning from Middleton Veterinary Emergency Services about an increase in dogs ingesting a substance that kills rats and mice.  It's that time of year when rodents look for a place to stay warm, but those pellets or blocks could be deadly to dogs and cats.

Three weeks ago, one-year-old lab Leo got into some rat poison.  

"Maybe he got it from a neighbors house, we have no idea how he ingested it," owner Julie Olson said.  "Once they show signs and symptoms it's too far a long for them to come back from it."

Leo needed three blood transfusions after he began coughing.

"He wasn't breathing, he had gunk in his lungs," Leo's 'big brother' William Malecki said.  "It was scary as all heck!"

Dr Josh Smith says in Leo's case, they were lucky.

"Fortunately for Leo, he had one that actually causing bleeding and we can fix that and treat that," Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith cautions the type Leo got into is becoming less common.  He says its being pushed off the market n favor of one safer for people, but deadly for your pets.  It's called Bromethalin.  

"Once we start seeing symptoms of the drug that one is not treatable we can't get those guys back," Dr. Smith said.

In the last few months, a dozen dogs have come in after eating rat poison.  

"These drugs are designed to kill and they will if we don't treat them appropriately," Dr. Smith said.

Even the non-toxic kinds can be dangerous.  The vet says they contain sorbitol. In high quantities that can do some bad things to your pet.

"It causes diarrhea, they lose a lot of fluids, causes dehydration," he said.

What's worse, all rat bait looks delicious to dogs.

Yeah, they have a flavoring to them, also when you look at the size of them, the Bromethalin blocks they are not that much bigger than dog food."

It's why Leo won't ever be allowed off his leash again.

"Just because you don't have it, doesn't mean your neighbor doesn't,"  Olson said.

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