no rats here! rodenticides to be made safer for pets

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Aug 11 2014

There is good news on the horizon for the pets, children and rodents of the world—the manufacturers of the popular rodenticide d-Con have finally decided to take steps to make their products safer.

For years, the manufacturers of rodent poisons have faced pressure from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), parents and pet owners. Accidental rodenticide exposure has been blamed for poisonings in tens of thousands of children and pets, and the EPA wants it to stop.

Change is on the way!

By the end of the year, the manufacturers of d-Con will stop making bait pellets. In 2015, they will replace them with products that are safer for home use. This may include bait stations or traps so that the poison is less accessible to pets and children.

In addition, the rodenticides in question won’t pack quite as much of a punch, so it’ll take more of the product to be effective, making our pets and kids safer, too!

Previously, d-Con has been a favorite among those looking to get rid of their rodent problems. The product is inexpensive and very effective—a single feeding of the pellets causes death within days due to internal and/or external bleeding.

Why so dangerous?

Many popular rodenticides, including d-Con, work as anti-coagulants—they prevent the blood from clotting. Because the vessels of the body undergo damage and repair every minute of the day, clotting is a necessary activity. Without the ability to form clots, tiny holes in blood vessels won’t get patched and bleeding goes uncontrolled.

Current formulations of pelleted rat poisons are dangerous if ingested directly by pets and children, but they also pose threats to animals who may feed on rodents. This includes both wildlife, like birds of prey, and our pets, who may catch and consume a tainted mouse. The poison isn’t inactivated when the mouse consumes it—it affects the prey animal, too!

If your pet has been exposed

Luckily, there is a readily available antidote for pets (and children) who have been accidentally exposed to rodenticide. Injectable and oral vitamin K supplements can be given to restart the internal blood clotting machine, and the length of time for treatment will vary from case to case.

That doesn’t mean that expensive blood transfusions won’t be needed—this will vary from case to case, too. And it also doesn’t mean that pets and children can’t die from accidental ingestion. Without treatment, they could easily bleed to death just like their rodent cousins.

Things to keep in mind

Though the makers of d-Con have pledged to make their product safer, current formulations of their product will stay on the shelves until they are sold. So, even after the new products come out in 2015, the danger might still be lurking.

If you must use rodenticide, keep it far away from your pets and children, and, as always, watch what they eat!