The short answer is yes, but there are several ways to mitigate the risks.
How does poisoning happen?
Cats and dogs can get rodenticide poisoning in one of two ways:
- Directly eating the poison – it is sometimes attractive to them too.
- Eating a sick or dead animal that has been poisoned.
Reducing the risk
- Use traps instead of poisons where there are domestic cats and dogs around.
- Use low-toxicity multi-feed poisons such as diphacinone (Ditrac). A cat or dog would have to eat a lot of carcasses in a short time to be harmed by these poisons.
- Keep cats inside during pulses.
- Always place poisons in purpose-designed stations, which make it impossible for cats or dogs to eat the poison directly. Poison must never be sprinkled on the ground or under a house.
- Immediately dispose of any animal carcasses.
- A well-fed cat or dog will be less likely to eat carcasses – and also less likely to eat native birds.
Signs of poisoning
The following are typical signs of rodenticide poisoning:
- Weakness, staggering, confusion or depression.
- Blood in urine, vomit or faeces.
- External bleeding from nose, mouth, anus.
- Shallow or laboured breathing.
- Blood tests to confirm a diagnosis.
- Inducing vomiting to expel any undigested poison.
- Vitamin K injection and/or tablets to counteract the poison’s effects.
- Activated charcoal given orally to absorb ingested poison still in the intestinal tract.