What Are the Side Effects of d-Con Rat Poison?

Written by erin ringwald
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What Are the Side Effects of d-Con Rat Poison?
Although d-Con is effective at killing rats, it can cause health problems with household pets. (rat 1 image by Psycience from Fotolia.com)

D-Con is a commercial product sold at home improvement stores for the purpose of poisoning rodents in your home. The active ingredient in d-Con is brodifacoum, which prevents blood from clotting. The effects of ingesting d-Con vary based on the size and species of pet that consumes it. Learn the side effects of ingesting the poison, or consuming a rodent that has been killed by d-Con. This will help determine whether your dog needs medical attention.

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Physical Bleeding

The purpose of the active ingredient in d-Con is to act as an anticoagulant. When a rodent ingests the poison, the blood cannot clot, and the animal bleeds to death. Unfortunately, if a household pet ingests a poisoned rodent or the actual poison directly, the same effects can occur internally. According to Pet Informed Veterinary Advice Online, a dog that has eaten rat poison will show the side effects of poisoning on the second to third day after ingestion. Since d-Con impedes the clotting factors in the blood, you may notice external bleeding, such as bleeding gums or a bloody nose. If your pet is bleeding internally, you will likely notice bloody stool or urine.

Signs of Bleeding Without Blood

It is possible for your pet to bleed internally and show no physical blood outwardly. However, there are other signs to look for. For example, if your dog is breathless and struggling to breathe, it is possible there is blood in the chest cavity or lungs. Bleeding in the brain can manifest as tremors or even paralysis of all or part of your pet's body. Abdominal swelling and bloating are signs of bleeding in the stomach or abdominal cavity.


According to Pet Place.com, animals with anaemia have a low red blood cell count, which can be caused by bleeding. Since a pet with d-Con poisoning will likely experience bleeding, anaemia is a common result. There are several outward signs of anaemia that can easily be observed by a pet owner. Anaemic animals become tired and weak. Loss of blood leads to a loss of energy. This displays as general lethargy, or a lack of interest to participate in activities that are normally enticing. For example, a dog who usually loves to go for walks will not respond when you grab a leash and call him over. Another common sign of anaemia is pale gums. If you suspect anaemia in your dog, pull up his lips and check out the colour of the gums. Gums that are pale or white in colour can indicate the blood loss has led to anaemia.

Non-Specific Symptoms

As the poison reacts in your pet’s body, she may develop a number of non-specific symptoms. Non-specific symptoms are symptoms that can be indicative a number of causes, such as infection, injury or even stress. For example, many dogs will develop a fever after d-Con poisoning, but fevers can indicate that your pet has an abscessed tooth, or even a cold. Other non-specific symptoms include increased pulse or collapsing. If your pet experiences any non-specific symptoms, mention the presence of d-Con in the home to help your vet rule out the cause of the symptoms.

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