Vitamin K Saves the Day - Rat Poison Antidote

This post is a copy of an email sent to our son when he was stationed in Italy in 2008  informing him that the puppies had eaten rat poison. It is a glimpse into family interaction during a crisis, but more importantly, it relays factual information about rat poison and a succesful antidote.

Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2008 2:47 PM

Warning - this email contains disturbing news.  Brace up & read the entire email before you go completely ballistic.

OK - first & foremost, you need to try to remain calm while reading this email.

Having the farm/kennel brings not only all the wonderful aspects of paradise, but also the tragedies which periodically occur in the perpetual effort to keep the fragile balance between good & bad in check - i.e. farm eggs/chicken snakes, weeds/garden, rabid wildlife/domestic animals, goats/domestic dogs, mice & rats/barn & kennel & so forth....

With that being said, let me share the events of yesterday.  

After work I picked up the dog meat from Sav Mor & headed home.  When I opened the garage door to unload the meat I discovered that the puppies had totally annihilated the garage.  Plumbing parts, tools, boxes & sacks of screws & nails were ripped open & scattered every wear.  Big mess. 

When Dad finished working on the kennel last Sunday, he inadvertently secured the fence that keeps the puppies out of the work area to the wrong side of the newly installed dog doors.  I caught the mistake on Sunday evening while Dad was playing tennis & told him about it when he got home.  He had gone out to correct the mistake, but somehow he got sidetracked & forgot. The work area in the garage has been unsecured all week.  We were not happy campers, but continued forward with the task at hand to unload 110lbs of meat, divide it, package it, put it in the freezer & feed the "starving" puppies.

Dad discovered in his trips back & forth from the car to the kitchen that the puppies had eaten the package of rat poison he had bought for the shop (and irresponsibly left in the sack on the floor in the work area of the garage with the rest of the supplies) 

Panic & anger is an understatement to my reaction.  I was in complete & total shock.  Emmett tucked his stub & hightailed upstairs to hide during the fallout.  I absolutely refused to believe Dad had bought rat poison anyway, he had forgotten it was in the sack & he had not, at the very least, secured it in the shop.  Dad feels so bad & has taken complete responsibility for this disaster.  What a way to usher in his 60th birthday.

It didn't matter who did what, we were now in a crisis situation requiring immediate action on our part.  Of course, by this time, it was after hours &  Don was nowhere to be found.  We rushed all six puppies to the after hours emergency clinic in Tyler.  We had no idea which puppies or if all the puppies had eaten the poison - so all the puppies have to be treated. 

Rat poison is a decoagulant the prevents the blood from clotting & creates internal bleeding which ultimately results in death.  Rat poison takes 5 to 7 days to take effect so there are no signs of distress until it is too late.  It does not make it's victims sick or in any pain - it's victims die suddenly & quickly of hemorrhaging if not caught in time & treated with the Vitamin K antidote. 

The chemical warfarin used in rat poison is also used in small amounts in humans with heart conditions to thin the blood.  Warfarin interferes with the activity of the protein fibrin.  Fibrin proteins bind the blood platelets together and functions as the scaffolding that stops bleeding.  Warfarin impairs the creative activity of Prothrombin, a significant blood-clotting factor.  Vitamin K is essential in the synthesis of prothrombin clotting factors in the blood. Because of this, Vitamin K is reckoned an antidote for warfarin overdose. If a warfarin-based rodenticide is consumed, Vitamin K is administered by injection initially to quickly restore prothrombin in the system and then vitamin K is taken orally twice a day for thirty days.  All six puppies got the Vitamin K shot (to the tune of $387.00) last night.  The vet at the emergency clinic was very positive about the recovery of the puppies because we caught it timely & started the antidote before the rat poison was completely absorbed in their systems.

On the way home, Zola decide to chew on the back part of the cargo area in the Lexus and your "sweet" Sibyl wasn't going to be outdone, so she chewed through the leather on the backseat arm rest rendering it a total loss (not a clue how much that's going to cost us to replace!)

Dad talked to Dr. Don when we got home.  Don concurred with the vet in Tyler & reassured us that the puppies will probably be fine.  Don said that the Vitamin K treatment has a 100% success rate provided that the vitamin K is given without fail.  He says he has never known a dog to die when the poisoning was caught early & the antidote was given religiously.  Although he did qualify that there is no guarantees & his exposure to rat poisoning is relatively limited.

Green dye is put n rat bait poisoning for safety - like putting odor in odorless natural gas.  The dye is intended to deter consumption, but since dogs are color blind, that logic is mute.  More importantly for animals, the green dye provides a visual if the bait is caught in time to induce vomiting or, as in our case, it shows up in the poop.  I happened to see Zola eliminating this morning.  Her poop was bright green - it looked like the block of rat poisoning intact.  Two other fresh poopies had some bright green (don't know which two puppies poop it was).  It is probable that Zola ate 75% of the poison and it is up for grabs who else consumed the other 25%.

There are no long term health side affects from rat poison once it has cleared the dog's system.  The new & improved rodenticide on the market today has a longer residual effect - which is great for killing rats - but not so much for dogs.  Hopefully, we have dodged bullets one more time.

I remain steadfast in my diligence to man the fort in your absence, but like I said in my last email - the Indians are surrounding the fort & I am calling for the Calvary to hurry up & get home!!! 

At this point I still have an abundance of snout kisses from the farm - lol  xoxooxoxoxxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoox


** Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm - Ralph Waldo Emerson **


1 Comment


January 17, 2016, 3:50 pm

Hi There, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your post on rat poison. I live in New York and I'm a long way from you, but yesterday, my little girl (a 16lb spaniel mix who I brought home with me after working in France) ended up with some rat poison (brodifacoum) in her mouth. I got her to the vet within an hour, vomiting was induced and she is on vitamin K now. The past 24 hours have been a nightmare and I have been searching for some kind of reassurance online, and this is the first place I've found it. I can't tell you what me and this dog have been through together, and the thought of losing her is just so scary. How did your puppies make out? Did they all make a full recovery? Thanks so much again for sharing. Best , Erica



Leave a Comment

Name (Required)
Email (Required - Will not be published)
Website (Optional)