Poisoning in pet rodents
What to do if you think your pet rodent has been poisoned:
- Stay calm. Remove rodent(s) from the poison source.
- Contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how poisoning occurred. If appropriate, carefully take the packaging/plant/substance to the vet. Don’t expose yourself to any harm.
- Follow veterinary advice. If you’re advised to take your rodent(s) to the vet, do so quickly and calmly.
Never treat/medicate rodent(s) yourself. Some medicines for humans/other animals may be poisonous to rodent(s).
If skin/fur is contaminated, wash with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
Keep rodent(s) away from any other animals to avoid cross-contamination.
Never ‘watch and wait’. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact a vet immediately.
Preventing poisoning in pet rodent:
In the home:
- Keep houseplants where rodent(s) cannot reach them. Collect dropped leaves/petals.
- Keep pesticides away from areas rodent(s) can access.
- If treating pets with insecticides, separate them from other pets.
- Keep an eye on your rodents.
- Ensure housing/exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
- Ensure rodents’ water supplies cannot become contaminated, change 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 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 rodent webpage.
Other cases of poisoning in animals 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.