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Cholecalciferol

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Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Weakness
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Halitosis
  • Organ failure

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This is one of the most dangerous mouse and rat poisons on the market and unfortunately, seems to be gaining in popularity. Cholecalciferol, or activated vitamin D3, causes a life-threateningly high calcium and phosphorus level in the body, resulting in severe, acute kidney failure. This can progress to chronic kidney failure and have long-term repercussions. Common signs of poisoning may not be evident for 1-2 days, when the poison has already resulted in significant -and potentially permanent – damage to the body. Increased thirst and urination, weakness, lethargy, a decreased appetite, and halitosis (“uremic” breath) may be seen. Acute kidney failure develops 2-3 days after ingestion of this type of mouse and rat poison.

Unfortunately, cholecalciferol mouse and rat poison does not have an antidote, and is one of the most challenging poisoning cases to treat as hospitalization, frequent laboratory monitoring and expensive therapy is often required for a positive outcome. Treatment includes aggressive IV fluids (for 2-3 days) and specific drugs (e.g., diuretics, steroids, calcitonin and bisphosphonates) to decrease calcium levels in the body. Frequent monitoring of blood work (calcium, phosphorus, and kidney values) is often needed for a period of 2-6 weeks after ingestion.

Unfortunately, cholecalciferol has a very narrow margin of safety, which means that even small ingestions of this poison can result in severe clinical signs or death. Toxic ingestions must be treated quickly and appropriately to prevent kidney failure.

Poison type: Garage Items

Alternate names: Vitamin D3, calcitriol, calcipotriene