Last night, a nice country man brought in his new puppy. He had obtained this puppy about 6 hours prior, and since then, she'd been bleeding profusely from one side of her nose. I couldn't see a cut or any other explanation for the bleeding without sedating her. Unfortunately, the new owner had about $120 to his name. I recommended we spend the money wisely on sedation for a nasal and soft palate exam.
Both were unremarkable, and I could find no explanation for the bleeding. I questioned the owner at length about the new puppy - any trauma? any chance of rat poison exposure? He said no to these and then elected to take the puppy home for monitoring. The bleeding continued unabated.
Prior to leaving, he called the original owner. He casually mentioned that yes, the puppy DID have access to DCon rat poisoning. Come to think of it, the dog had been pooping green pellets for the last few days!!!
I told the owner how concerning this was and recommended running at least one clotting time test (a PT). This is the first of the 2 clotting times to become increased when an animal ingests rat poison.
Most modern rat poisons are anti-clotting drugs. They exert this effect by inhibiting an important enzyme that is responsible for the reduction of vitamin K in the body. Without this enzyme, vitamin K dependent clotting factors (clotting factors 2,7,9, and 10) do not get made. As a result, the body becomes unable to clot blood. This takes about 3-6 days to occur AFTER the rodenticide has been eaten.
At any rate, the owner agreed to run a PT. It was so high as to be out of range on our machine - indicating a severe clotting disorder. It appeared that our little puppy was suffering rat poisoning.
Unfortunately for the puppy, the new owner did not have the finances to provide treatment (fresh frozen plasma transfusion to replace the deficient clotting factors and vitamin K supplementation to provide the body with what it cannot make). Instead of doing anything, he took the puppy back to the original owner. He declined to even take vitamin K.
I can only hope that the original dimwit has the puppy treated, but I suspect it will lie in a lot somewhere and die a slow death of internal hemorrhage. It was an all around bad scenario.
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