Eltham Veterinary Practice
644 Main Road
Eltham Victoria 3095 AU
03 9439 8650


Rat bait poison

Rat bait poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisonings in pets. 


Rat bait poisoning can occur if a pet has directly ingested rat poison (primary) or has ingested a rodent that may have ingested the poison (secondary). Rat bait can come in a number of colors (blue, green, red, tan) and formulations (blocks, pellets, granules). Unfortunately, the poison cannot be identified by color or formula.

There are 3 main forms of poison used in rat bait, each of them affects the pet in very different ways. 

Poison Description Symptoms  Treatment 

Long-acting anticoagulants






It generally takes 3-7 days before clinical signs are seen. It takes this long as the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors are depleted. Initial signs are vague such as lethargy, exercise intolerance, and anorexia. Followed by weakness, bleeding, breathing problems, bruising, lameness, seizures, and death factors are depleted.

Vitamin K1 is the antidote.

Treatment requires induced vomiting by a veterinary professional if within 4 hours of ingestion, blood testing 48-72 hours after ingestion, Vitamin K1 treatment.

In severe cases, whole blood transfusion, fresh plasma or fresh frozen plasma is required

Bromethalin A neurotoxin (not an anticoagulant) with a lethal dose of 2.5mg/kg

Signs of agitation, abnormal behavior, depression, hindlimb paresis, tremors, seizures occur within 2-24 hours of ingestion.

Signs may last up to 12 hours with the possibility of permanent impairment and continue to occur 24-86 hours after exposure. 

There is no antidote.

Treatment includes induced vomiting by a veterinary professional, activated charcoal (without a cathartic) every 6 hours for the first 24 hours plus medication to decrease any swelling on the brain.

Cholecalciferol Activated vitamin D3 It causes kidney failure, heart abnormalities, hypertension, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Clinical signs develop 18-36 hours after ingestion. 

There is no antidote.

Treatment may include induced vomiting by a veterinary professional, fluid therapy, and blood tests to monitor blood calcium, phosphorus levels, and kidney function. Regular blood monitoring may be required 2-6 weeks after the poisoning. 

The most common form of poison is anticoagulants (stops blood clotting). 

If you suspect poisoning...

Call your veterinary team immediately.

Bringing in the rat bait packaging can be extremely helpful to your veterinary team if you suspect ingestion. Details such as the registration number, active ingredient, concentration, and amount are very useful.

Your veterinary team will also be able to run a blood test to determine if your pet's blood clotting ability has been compromised by an anticoagulant poison. They will also be able to give your pet medication to replenish any depleted Vitamin K.