Dangers of rat poison

Written by kahlie richards
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Rats spread diseases, eat crops and infest homes. Rat poison is used for pest extermination. You can buy it in most grocery or hardware stores and online. If planning to get rid of rats, make sure you are not posing danger to children, pets or any other animals.


There are two types of rat poison: anticoagulant and non-anticoagulant. Anticoagulant rat poisons are usually made with warfarin, bromadiolone or brodificoum. This type of poison will cause the rat to have internal bleeding by impairing blood clotting. It usually takes few days to kill a rat. Non-anticoagulant rat poisons are usually made with bromethalin, zinc phosphide, strychnine, or cholecalciferon. These poisons can kill rats within few hours by affecting the brain directly.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of rat poisoning can't immediately be seen after ingestion. It may take up to few hours or days to see the result. Symptoms can be fatal and include bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, nosebleeds, blood in the urine, breathing problems, bleeding gums, dizziness, extensive bruising, fatigue, sudden weakness and hair loss.


Rat poison is hazardous to people and animals. Therefore prevention is better than cures. Clean up garbage and put it in the garbage bin with cover, don't leave dirty dishes on the sink and keep your property free of debris and trash. Don't keep a rat poison in your home if you don't need it. If possible, use a trap than a rat poison. Always keep your children and pet away from rat poisons to avoid exposure to poisons and to poisoned rats.


Anticoagulant rat poisons damage prothrombin, which is one of the important blood clotting factors. Vitamin K is a significant element for the production of such plasma protein. Because of this, Vitamin K is considered the antidote. If a child or pet swallows such poisons, the usual treatment is injections of Vitamin K, but you should seek medical attention for them immediately rather than try to treat them yourself.


The Environmental Protection Agency says rat poison is a hazardous waste because of the chemicals involved. Rat poison does not kill rats instantly, giving them time to go back to their hiding places, such as inside the walls, and die there, resulting in a strong odour and the need to have them removed. Other diseases can be transmitted through improper handling of dead poisoned rats. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it's dangerous to handle infected animal carcases, breathe in dust contaminated with rodent urine or droppings, have direct contact with rodents or their urine and droppings or eating or drinking contaminated food or water by rat faeces and urine.

Also, fleas and mites often leave dead rat carcases and may infest your entire house if the dead rats are not removed right away. Therefore call professional pest exterminator to do such job. Also contact the local poison-control centre for advice or go directly to the hospital's emergency department when a person has swallowed a rat poison or touched a dead rat, even if he is not showing any symptoms. If your pet ingested rat poison, immediately induce vomiting and take it to a veterinarian as fast as possible. After vomiting, do not let your pet drink or eat anything.

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