During the colder winter months rodent infestations can become a real problem for many homeowners as both rats and mice look for warmer surroundings, and a more prolific food source.

The most common solution to control these infestations is baiting with a registered rodenticide, often readily available from local high street stores, DIY super stores, or a professional pest control company.

It is crucial that all guidelines on the product label are understood and followed to help reduce the risk of secondary poisoning.

Care must be taken to ensure that:

1. All baits are secured in lockable bait boxes and

2. placed out of reach of all non-target species, your pets and children,

3. all dead rodents must be collected and disposed of carefully.


Secondary poisoning occurs when a rodent consumes the bait and the chemical toxins build up within its organs, especially the liver, where the concentration of toxins are the highest, the dead rodent is then consumed by a domestic pet, or other native predator.

Primary poisoning occurs when the target animal consumes the bait directly, usually resulting in death within 3 to 5 days.

Occasionally rodents can die with un-consumed bait within their mouth, if the dead rodent is then consumed by another predator such as a domestic cat or dog, it must be considered to be primary poisoning.

Most rodenticides are anti – coagulants, they interfere with the production of vitamin K, preventing the blood from clotting, resulting in a slow death from internal bleeding.

Originally, the first generation anti – coagulants were multi feed baits but over a period of time some rodent populations built up an immunity, and more toxic second generation, single feed baits were introduced.

If you suspect your cat or dog has consumed rodent bait it is essential that you get him to a vet as soon as possible, so the antidote, vitamin K 1, can be administered.

Common symptoms include- Pale gums, lethargy, bruising under skin, blood in urine or faeces, continued bleeding from an open wound, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle seizures and tremors.

The toxicity can vary greatly from one anti – coagulant poison to another. A healthy 7kg dog would require only 35g of some popular bait to receive a lethal dose, while up to 7kg of other bait could be consumed before becoming fatal. Dogs are more susceptible than cats.

Be aware that there is always a potential risk of secondary poisoning from all rodenticides, but by understanding the dangers involved, and using the most appropriate bait, the risk can be greatly reduced.

All Pest Technicians at Cooroy Pest Control are fully qualified to offer advice on rodent baiting, to ensure our clients are recommended the safest, most suitable rodent management system.