Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rat poison

Bullet dodged.

We just got a call from the vet that Trooper’s blood test this morning for anticoagulants had come back normal. No need for further action.


Early in March, Trooper had pooped neon green. That was weird. I looked up the phenomenon on the Internet and discovered that green poop can be caused by all sorts of things, including crayons and oddly colored dog treats—neither of which he’d had. Still, he is a notorious scavenger and we have had to watch him carefully both in the house and on our walks. 

We called the vet.

Around here, he said, only one thing causes green dog poop: rat poison.

What to do?

We could, the vet said, wait for symptoms to develop. Rat poison kills by stopping an animal’s blood from clotting, causing internal hemorrhaging. If blood began to drip from his nose, among other things, he definitely would be suffering from rodenticide poisoning.

Or we could be proactive and immediately start him on a three-week regimen of one Vitamin K1 pill a day. The K1 would counteract the anticoagulant properties of rat poison. Four days after stopping the K1, we’d need to bring him in for a blood test.

For twenty-one days we watched Trooper carefully. He showed no symptoms at all. None. Every day he went about his various businesses, including his tasks as a service dog, with both elan and aplomb. We took the train to Arizona and back, and he handled that well.

We have racked our brains trying to figure out how he could have gotten into rat poison. (We are not 100 per cent sure that was what caused the green poop, but it is the likeliest culprit.)

We had often walked him in an alley near our condo that is a popular promenade for neighborhood dogs. It is possible that a homeowner, plagued by mice and rats around his garage, salted a few chunks of poison inside his property and an animal, perhaps a possum or raccoon, dragged it out into the alley—and Trooper scarfed it when I wasn’t looking.

That’s the likeliest scenario I can think of.

In any case, we’re continuing to work on our efforts to train Trooper away from scavenging, and we’re scanning the ground well ahead of him on our walks.

And we’re also staying out of alleys.

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