Jay Jay in Jeopardy: His Six-Month Journey After Ingesting Rat Poison
This month’s ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) case of the month shows us the dangers of rat poison in a pet’s home. Find out how the APCC helped get Jay Jay back to his happy and healthy self over the course of six months.
On December 6, 2020, Jay Jay, a three-year-old Chihuahua, found a block of rat poison and ate it. The rat poison contained high levels of Vitamin D, also known as cholecalciferol. Knowing how dangerous rat poison is, Jay Jay’s pet parents called the APCC and were instructed to take Jay Jay into a veterinary clinic immediately.
After arriving at the veterinary hospital, Jay Jay was given a medication to make him vomit, but several hours had already passed since he ate the rat poison and only dog food was found in his vomit. Jay Jay was then given a dose of activated charcoal and placed on a medication to help bind the Vitamin D in his system. He went home with his pet parents that same night and they were instructed to bring him back once a day for the next four days to check his bloodwork.
Jay Jay did great at home, taking his medication and acting like his normal happy self. His bloodwork remained normal. Life was good.
But three days after he ate the rat poison, his bloodwork suddenly showed severe elevations in his calcium and his phosphorus levels. This was very concerning because when both calcium and phosphorus levels are high in the body, they will cause mineralization in the kidneys, eventually leading to kidney failure.
Jay Jay was admitted into the hospital for treatment with IV fluids, a low calcium diet and medications to help bring down the dangerous calcium and phosphorus levels. Jay Jay then spent the next six months in and out of the hospital as his calcium and phosphorus levels went up and down. One of the bad things about Vitamin D is that it will stay in the body for weeks to months, so treatment is long and expensive.
Through all of this, Jay Jay’s pet parents and veterinary team never gave up. After months in the hospital, Jay Jay’s pet parents learned how to give him subcutaneous fluids at home twice a day to keep vet bills low, something only recommended by vets in specific instances. Jay Jay’s veterinarians consulted with APCC veterinarians regularly during the course of his treatment, calling a total of 49 times, to ensure they were giving him the best care possible.
Finally, in June, Jay Jay went in for his last bloodwork recheck and was sent home in style, receiving a “clap out” from the veterinary staff who had taken care of him over the last six months. Veterinary medicine can be a hard field to work in, but cases like Jay Jay’s make the difficult days a little easier.
There are several different types of rat poison, all requiring different treatments, so its important to save the packaging of any rat poison you have. Most cases of rat poison ingestion are not as complicated or drawn out as Jay Jay’s, but early intervention is important. Many rat poisons do not cause signs right away, sometimes not for several days, and waiting for signs to develop could mean waiting until it’s too late to treat them effectively. If your pet gets into rat poison, contact APCC right away.
If you believe your pet may have ingested rodenticide or another potentially toxic substance, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.