A new rodent-killing product, bromethalin, has become available, and it is different from the old-style rat poison, warfarin. If a dog or cat accidentally got into warfarin, medical treatment with vitamin K has been able to offset the serious adverse effects of the potent anti-coagulant. However, with bromethalin, that isn’t the case. This fast-acting rat poison has no antidote should your dog or cat (or horse) inadvertently consume it!
Because environmental advocates were concerned that a long-acting anticoagulant could make its way up the food chain and thereby affect animals consuming a rodent that had eaten it, this new product was developed with a different mode of action. While the old anti-coagulant could take as long as five days for a small animal to show symptoms, pets consuming bromethalin begin to display central nervous system signs within 2-24 hours due to brain swelling.
A word of caution: Packaging of both the old and new rodenticides appears similar. So the take home message is to be circumspect when buying and using any rodent poison, particularly if you have small animals or children roaming around. Tamper-proof bait stations are commercially available to isolate these products so that only mice or rats can access it.