"Real Kill" Rat Poison is Especially Dangerous for Pets
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RealKill“Real Kill” Rat Poison Especially Dangerous for Pets

All brands of rat poison are harmful when ingested by pets, but pet-owners should be particularly cautious with a brand of poison called “Real Kill.”

“Real Kill” is especially dangerous because there is no known antidote for pets that have ingested the product. Usually, pets who have ingested rat poison are treated with vitamin K and have a good prognosis, but this isn’t the case with “Real Kill.”

Rodenticides (rat poisons) kill rats by interrupting the body’s blood clotting system, resulting in fatal bleeding. This same result occurs if enough poison is ingested by humans or pets. Vitamin K is usually administered to rejuvenate the body’s blood coagulation ability. For most brands of rat poison this is an effective treatment, but “Real Kill” poison is not responsive to vitamin K.

Pets that have ingested “Real Kill” poison have to be treated with alternative methods. These methods include induced vomiting, charcoal, plasma transfusions, intravenous fluids and possibly blood transfusions.

Ingestion of rat poison can be a frightening and expensive ordeal for pet-owners, so it is best to keep all brands of rat poison out of reach from pets.

If you think your pet has ingested rat poison, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Signs that your pet has ingested rat poison include:


-Paleness in gums

-Bloody urine/stool

-Nose Bleeds
Bromethalin, found in brand names like Rampage and Real Kill.

Remember the questions:

1) What is the toxic principle? (How does it kill?)
2) What are the signs/symptoms of poisoning?
3) Is there any treatment?
4) How bad is it - (On a relative scale of Fair - treatable if caught in time, Poor - might not survive even with treatment, or Grave - likely to be fatal even with treatment)

Give it a try, answer any or all questions, in part or in total. No one is laughed at for wrong guesses, and all attempts at answering will receive praise and public accolades.


Bromethalin is a neurotoxin, and the signs are related to dysfunction of the CNS (Central Nervous System), primarily brain swelling. These signs are highly variable, depending on the dose ingested. Low doses in dogs lead to depression, anorexia, vomiting, and tremors, which may not show up for several days. Paresis (muscle weakness) or paralysis may also occur. High doses can cause a hyperexcitable state, tremors, increased reflexes, running fits, and localized or generalized seizures. In cats, the signs include depression, ataxia (incoordination), abdominal swelling, paralysis, and convulsions. Death can result from either high or low dose toxicity in both species.

These signs are non-specific; they are seen in many kinds of neurologic disease. If you don't have a history of exposure to the toxin, it might go undiagnosed, as it wouldn't show up in any of the routine laboratory work. It can take up to 4 days for initial signs to show in a dog, and may progress for one or two weeks before death from respiratory failure.

There is no antidote to bromethalin. It is rapidly absorbed into the system, and reaches peak blood levels a mere 4 hours after ingestion. If ingestion is observed, immediate decontamination (as discussed in previous posts) is the first course of action, and may be of some benefit. Otherwise, treatment is mainly supportive, including cautious use of IV fluids, diuretics, and steroids and mannitol to reduce brain swelling. The prognosis is grave in pets which are exhibiting symptoms.

Bormethalin was the second most common rodenticide I found when I shopped several local stores. About 75% of the products readily available were Vitamin K antagonists and about 25% contained bromethalin. I only found one store that carried one brand of cholecalciferol (Vitamin D) based mouse poison.

To sum up our three main types of mouse and rat poison:

1) Brodificoum, bromadiolone, and warfarin: Deplete the body's store of Vitamin K, causing bleeding problems. Antidote is Vitamin K. Prognosis: Fair. A good chance for recovery if treatment is started in time. Most common poison on the market.

2) Cholecalciferol: Vitamin D. Causes mineralization of soft tissues, especially the kidneys. No antidote, but early and aggressive treatment can speed the excretion of excess calcium, limiting the injury to major organs. Prognosis: Poor. Even with treatment, kidney or heart damage may leave animal with long-term health problems. Least common product available.

3) Bromethalin: A neurotoxin causing nonspecific signs. No antidote. Prognosis: Grave. Death is likely even with treatment. Second most common product.

So, how do you get rid of mice? Sticky traps are non-toxic, but I think we all agree that it is a cruel way for a critter to die. Old fashioned snap-traps are easy, quick, painless and non-toxic. If you can't stand to take the mouse off the trap, toss it - they're cheap. Unless you have a tiny pet, there is limited injury to "non-target organisms." Or, get a cat. I have one I will rent you.