What to do if you think your pet rodent has been poisoned:
- Stay calm. Remove your pet rodent(s) from the source of poison.
- Contact your vet for advice immediately; inform them when, where and how the poisoning occurred. If appropriate, carefully take the packaging, plant or substance with you to the vet. Be careful not to expose yourself to any harm.
- Follow your vet’s advice. If you are advised to take your pet rodent(s) to the vet, do so quickly and calmly.
Never attempt to treat or medicate your pet rodent(s) yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to your pet rodent(s).
If the skin or fur is contaminated, wash thoroughly with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
Keep your pet rodent(s) away from any other animals to avoid cross contamination.
Never ‘watch and wait’ in any case of suspected poisoning. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, act fast and contact a vet for advice immediately.
Preventing poisoning in pet rodent:
Under the Animal Welfare Act all pet owners have a legal duty to provide for their pets’ needs, including the need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. Preventing your pet rodent from coming into contact with poisonous substances and treating any accidental poisonings quickly and appropriately is an important part of responsible pet ownership.
In the home:
- Keep houseplants in containers placed where your pet rodent(s) cannot reach them. Collect up any dropped leaves or petals.
- Keep pesticides, such as rat baits, away from the areas your pet rodent(s) have access to.
- If treating your pets with insecticides at home, remember to separate them from other pets to avoid cross-contamination.
- Watch your pet rodent(s) closely when they are running free indoors.
- Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
- Ensure your pet rodent’s/rodents’ water supply cannot become contaminated, and change it regularly.
Common pet rodent poisons:
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is a specialist 24-hour emergency service which provides information and advice to veterinary professionals and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxic substances.
Some of the most common, potentially severe pet rodent poisons reported to the VPIS are:
- Rodent poisons (called ‘rodenticides’)
- Theobromine – a powerful stimulant found in chocolate
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Foxglove (Digitalis spp)
- Oleander (Nerium oleader)
Read more about these common pet rodent poisons, their symptoms and treatment in our most common poisons pet rodent webpage.
Other cases of poisoning in rabbits reported to the VPIS have included household cleaning products and human drugs such as Paracetamol and oral contraceptives. For more information about what substances are harmful to your pet rodent speak to your vet.
Acknowledgement for this information is made to The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). The VPIS is not a public access service. However some helpful information for pet owners is available on their website.