WHAT TO DO IF YOUR RAT EATS RAT POISON
I think this is a very important topic for anybody who has rats who have rummaged around their apartment/house without supervision.
I personally had four males die after presumably eating rat poison in an apartment that I had searched for poison before I brought my guys into it.
The full story is that I went to my parents' house for a weekend, and when I came back, I found them on my bed with all types of food and chewable things in half-eaten states. I thought it was cute and took some pictures. They were like teenagers with a house to themselves for the weekend.
I put them in their cage and thought nothing more of it, besides the fact that I would have to buy some new sheets without holes chewed through them.
After two days, the smallest one, Tricky, escaped from his cage and would hide underneath anything where he could be alone in a dark place. His ears and tail felt unnaturally cold, and I thought something was wrong. His skin was also very pale and almost translucent.
After four days, two of my four rats had died. They both exhibited the same symptoms of cold and pale ears and tails, and they refused to eat or drink.
I brought the two remaing rats to the vet. He had no idea what was happening to them, and claimed that the smaller one (Leonard) was suffering from dehydration and injected him with about 5cc of saline. The father of all the others, F. Scott, was deemed to be either OK or suffering from something that the vet had no knowledge of.
On the way to the veterinarian F. Scott, peeled off a fingernail (they were both in a backpack). They couldn't do anything for it. They tried several times to seal the wound with corn starch or something else that supposedly stopped bleeding. Nothing seemed to work. He was so brave. When I would hold him for the technicians to apply the powder, which I could tell stung terribly, the worst he did to me was lick me with a sort of desperation. It was really touching. After a few minutes the bleeding would start again.
They both died within 48 hours of that visit.
I did some research on the symptoms and learned that the most common rat poisons are "anticoagulants". What these do is prevent the platelets in the bloodstream from binding together when there is a tear in a blood vessel. These tears occur all the time in all animals, and the platelets just repair the normal damage that results from wear, tear, and injuries. They are what stop you from bleeding to death when you get a paper cut.
The way they work is by preventing the metabolism of vitamin K, which is key in blood coagulation. One of the reasons it is used to kill "rodents" is that it is easily cured. All that is needed to save anything that eats some of the poison is vitamin K injections until the body has removed the poison. This can take several weeks, but if vitamin K is administered regularly during that time, no ill effects will be observed.
I propose that any rat owner who lives in an apartment should own several syringes and some vitamin K tablets. If you don't want to have a vet tell you that nothing can be done for $200, you might want to try some intraparietal injections of vitamin K. I'll leave the proper form up to others because I am not a doctor.
Another thought that occurred to me is that a diet of mostly/only Kale might be enough to cure pet rats from the effects of rat poison while it is still in their system. Kale has more vitamin K than any other food that I have been able to find, and it seems promising. This is just a guess though, so don't put too much stock in it.
I don't know for sure because I haven't had a rat poisoned since my four boys, but I will be sure to post if anything else happens. I still have not been able to find any rat poison in my apartment.
Please let me know if anybody else has any experience with this.