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Dwarf hamster ate rat poison


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#1 rockmonkey953

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:27 AM

My dwarf hamster got out of her ball and I found her under the couch eating rat poison. The green block kind. We've had this block for probably 4 or more years. I'm hoping it has an expiration date or maybe these poisons don't work as well over time. I was supervising my hamster while in the ball because I'm very paranoid about something like this happening. I noticed right away and began looking for her. She was chewing on the poison for no more than 5 minutes. She did chew a small amount and probably ingested it. I'm worried because she is a dwarf and about I'd guess 8 or so months old. I've had her for two months now. It's been almost an hour since this happened. I told my parents right away but they can't afford to take her to the vet. Is there anything I can do at home?
I have another dwarf living in the same cage. Right now they are both sleeping but should I separate the one that ate the poison? I don't want my other dwarf getting sick too.
Thank you for your help :/




#2 Rabbit

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:41 AM

I'm afraid there doesn't seem to be any treatment other than medications a vet can prescribe. Hamsters can't vomit, so we can't just give them ipecac like we give people who ingest poison. Many vets will work with you to make payment plans for treatment - try suggesting this to your parents, and outline a way you will pay them back. Unfortunately poisoning is an emergency and needs to be dealt with immediately.

#3 rockmonkey953

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:47 AM

Thank you. I'll talk to them.
Hopefully she can make it through.

#4 rhapsody

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:49 AM

You're not going to like this. I went through the exact same experience many years ago with my syrian hamster ... and she died horrifically. The rat poison she found was nearly a decade old, and she was dead in three days. We even took her to the vet, and all they could do was say sorry.

HOWEVER, by the time we found my hamster, she had ingested quite a bit of poison. I'm not sure at what doses the poison becomes toxic, but your hammie might be okay if she only had a nibble. From what I understand, there's no antidote for rat poison (I'm assuming its main ingredient is Bromethalin), but typical symptoms of poisoning are seizures.

I'm hoping someone else here will be able to give you better advice - things might have changed for the better since 10 years ago.

#5 missPixy

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 07:43 AM

what is the poison? do you know? is it warfarin?

if it's warfarin, you need to get lots of vitaminK into your
hamster. NOW. warfarin is an anti-coagulant. vitaminK
will build up the clotting action and counteract the poison.

warfarin is the most common poison i'm aware of for
rodents...

#6 Rabbit

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 07:52 AM

Spinach, cabbage and broccoli are best for this. If your ham won't eat them, chop them up and drizzle them with olive oil. If she still won't, try blending into a smoothie with some strawberries and giving it to her with a syringe.

#7 missPixy

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:09 AM

Spinach, cabbage and broccoli are best for this. If your ham won't eat them, chop them up and drizzle them with olive oil. If she still won't, try blending into a smoothie with some strawberries and giving it to her with a syringe.


rabbit, thank you for adding the most important part of the answer
which i left out :duh: !

also, kale is another green high in vitaminK.

#8 rockmonkey953

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:18 AM

I'm not sure what the poison is exactly because we've had it in the house for years and forgot it was there.
The spinach and brocoli all have vitamin k in them ?
I have her romain lettuce today since it's the only greens we have at the moment.
I noticed her discharge is green compared to my other dwarfs. I think it's because the poison was a green block since I don't think lettuce would change the color. I will go buy some broccoli right now.

#9 Rabbit

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:36 AM

Totally forgot about the kale. I'd get some of each and see which your hamster prefers to eat - probably best if she likes them and eats them raw.

Does the poison not come with any kind of label or packaging? Do you have any more of it around, or do your parents remember the name? Figuring out what kind of poison it is could be the single most important way to help your hamster, and it's something the vet will definitely need to know in order to do anything. The kale and broccoli will only work if it's an anticoagulant like warfarin - other kinds of poisons have different antidotes, and some have none at all. I Googled "green block rat poison" and got a few pictures. Does it look like this?

Posted Image
This is bromadiolone, a second-generation anticoagulant. This means it is more potent than warfarin. If you can get your ham to a vet he may give an injection of vitamin K1, which will help counteract the poison more quickly than kale. You can possibly obtain pure K1 yourself, but I've no idea how to dose this in a dwarf hamster. This type of poison also accumulates in the liver and kidneys (whereas regular warfarin is eventually excreted), so you may need to keep giving your little one supplemental vitamin K for a long time.

"Luckily," these poisons are not designed to take effect until a day or so after ingestion. This is so a rodent won't take a small bite, realize it is getting sick, and fail to eat the rest of the bait. However, dwarf hamsters are much smaller than rats, and you might start seeing symptoms much earlier. Have you noticed any behavioral changes yet? You may still have time to save your hamster if you act quickly.

Also, I've read that hamsters sometimes consume their own poo in order to absorb nutrients they didn't get the first time. I don't know how this works when multiple hams share one cage - if they only consume their own or also others. You should consider separating your hamsters for now in case any of the poison comes out in the poo and is eaten by the healthy one.

EDIT: Just read this on Wikipedia, sounds interesting.
Sometimes, anticoagulant rodenticides are potentiated by an antibiotic or bacteriostatic agent, most commonly sulfaquinoxaline. The aim of this association is that the antibiotic suppresses intestinal symbiotic microflora, which are a source of vitamin K. Diminished production of vitamin K by the intestinal microflora contributes to the action of anticoagulants. Added vitamin D also has a synergistic effect with anticoagulants.

While I take most things on Wikipedia with a grain of salt, I don't think it would hurt to offer your hamster a bit of plain yogurt. This will nourish the beneficial bacteria in her digestive tract that these antibiotics would target.

Edited by Rabbit, 25 August 2010 - 09:51 AM.


#10 rockmonkey953

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:53 AM

It looks fairly similar to that but it comes in a smaller cube shape. Something like this. Posted Image
The brand is tomcat according to the pictures.
I just got back from the grocery store and bought some broccoli. She did not eat it so I think I'll do what you suggested regarding the olive oil. I looked for kale but wasn't able to find any.
I haven't noticed any behavioral changes. She has always been very energetic compared to my other hamster. She continues to run around in her wheel while the other just sits around being lazy.
In about an hour or so it will have been a full 24 hours since she consumed the poison.

#11 Yukionna

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 09:54 AM

Unfortunately rat poison such as de-con is incredibly poisonous to small animals. It usually include worforin though. What this does it to seriously disable the clotting agent in blood. Either way it will probably cause the hamster to majorly dehydrate. If you've ever found a mouse that suffered from de-con or any of these other types of poison they are severely dehydrated and look anemic. I'd suggest the vet simply because they can take the best action. If they need fluids they're going to know the best way to do that and if there's anything that can be done they're going to be more likely to know the answer.

Edited by Yukionna, 25 August 2010 - 10:00 AM.


#12 Rabbit

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 10:17 AM

Ah. As I suspected, the active ingredient there is bromadiolone. Unfortunately it's more potent than warfarin, but it is an anticoagulant. Try to get as much green as you can into your little buddy. If she miraculously doesn't develop symptoms, don't stop offering the vitamin K - her body is likely not able to recycle used vitamin K because of damage from the poison, so she may be relying completely on the vitamin you give her.

Tomcat offers a poison control hotline that you can call if your pet accidentally ingests it. I suspect they won't be able to tell you anything more than "go to a vet," but if you'd like to give it a try - 1-877-854-2494.

Furthermore, their website states that a rodent will usually die in 4-5 days after consuming a lethal dose. Dwarves are so small that this may be shortened, but hopefully you caught it in time to make a difference. If you can get to the grocery again, I'd consider getting spinach and kale as well. Maybe she will like one of those better - and if she doesn't, well, you get more vegetables to eat. Your parents should approve of that. Kale is found with lettuce and spinach - it comes in large leaves.

Edited by Rabbit, 25 August 2010 - 10:22 AM.


#13 rockmonkey953

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 10:43 AM

She just won't eat the broccoli. I cut it in pieces and filled a food bowl with it but she won't go near it. The healthy hamster is the only one eating the broccoli. I'll drive to the grocery store tomorrow after a meeting at school and get everything you've suggested.

#14 michhammyluv29

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 10:47 AM

I don't have any experience with this kind of stuff, but I just wanted to send you my best wishes for you and your baby. I hope you can save her. Good luck.

#15 Rabbit

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 11:12 AM

For tonight, maybe you can try the smoothie? If you have strawberries or apples, put some in a blender with the broccoli and blend it up. It should smell and taste sweet to you. I think missPixy also suggested sauteeing the broccoli in the olive oil, and mixing it in with the rest of her seed mix.