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Rat Poison Ingestion in Dogs and Cats: Zinc Types
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Poisonings
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Toxin
Zinc phosphide (aluminum phosphide and magnesium phosphide have similar actions)

Source
Rodenticides including Acme Mole and Gopher Killer, Gopha Rid, Kikrat, Mous-Con, Mr. Rat Guard, Phosvin, Phosyin, Rumetan, True Grit Gopher Rid, and Zinc Tox.

General Information
Following ingestion, the zinc phosphide reacts with the gastric acid in the stomach. This causes the release of a gas that has the odor of garlic, rotten fish, or acetylene. This gas may damage the small blood vessels and red blood cells and small blood vessels in the kidneys, liver, and lungs. This results in cardiovascular collapse. The heart muscle may be affected directly also.

Toxicity can occur at levels below that which produces the odor of the gas.

Toxic Dose
9 mg per pound of body weight

Signs
Symptoms including lack of appetite. lethargy, abdominal distention, weakness, drooling, and vomiting may start within 4 hours of ingestion. Other symptoms may include hypotension, shock, recumbency, muscle tremors, hyperesthesia, seizures, abnormal heart rythms, cyanosis, and death.

Immediate Action
If ingested, induce vomiting depending on pet's alertness. Seek veterinary attention.

Veterinary Care
General treatment: Vomiting will be induced, gastric lavage performed, and activated charcoal administered.

Supportive treatment: Organ function will be evaluated, medications will be administered to decrease gastric acid production, and blood-gas levels monitored. Treatment will be dependent on test results. Hospitalization is usually necessary for at least 48 hours.

Specific treatment: Unavailable.

Prognosis
Guarded.

 

Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.


If you think your pet has been poisoned...

Contact your veterinarian or one of the Animal Poison Hotlines (listed below) if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication.

**ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center - 24-hour service available throughout North America.
www.aspca.org/apcc

1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). $65.00 per case, billed to caller's credit card.

Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973.

There is no charge when the call involves a product covered by the Animal Product Safety Service.

**Pet Poison Helpline - 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

1-800-213-6680 ($59.00 per incident). Staffed 24-hours a day.

Updated 6/20/17


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