Rat Poisoning in Dogs

Bromethalin is a rodenticide which poisons the central nervous system. Bromethalin toxicity (more often referred to as rat poisoning) is the accidental ingestion of bromethalin. Dogs can be poisoned by rat or mouse bait (rodenticides) either by eating the bait or by eating a mouse or rat which has ingested the toxin. Bromethalin interferes with oxidative phosphorylation and inhibits the sodium pump. This leads to an increased pressure of cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid within the membrane of the skull that the brain essentially floats in), intracellular edema and degeneration, particularly in the central nervous system. Bromethalin poisoning is occasionally fatal. Dogs ingesting 2.5 to 5.0 mg/kg tend to develop clinical signs in 1 to 4 days. It is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after ingestion.

Common symptoms associated with bromethalin toxicity include

Loss of appetite (anorexia),

Impaired movement,

Paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs,

slight muscle tremors, generalized seizures

depression of the central nervous system

Muscle tremors


In mild cases of poisoning, symptoms may resolve within one to two weeks of onset, although some dogs may continue to show signs for four to six weeks. 

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