Rat Sac poisoning in a cat
Ginge was presented with severe bleeding from his mouth. His gums were pale and he was unsettled. On listening to his chest with a stethoscope, we could hear lots of wheezy lungs sounds. There was no history of trauma or ingestion of anything new.
We sedated Ginge and had a quick look around his mouth to make sure he had not cut his tongue or got something sharp in his throat. A blood test for Feline Aids and Feline Leukaemia was negative. This was done just in case one of these illnesses was wiping out his platelets which help animals clot their blood.
Some blood we took showed he had lost approx. 1/2 his total volume of blood. When we spin blood down in a centrifuge, it squashes the red blood cells to the bottom of the tube, leaving the clear watery part of the blood (plasma) on top. Using a special machine with a sliding ruler, we can measure the percentage of blood that is made up of red blood cells. In a cat, it is normally 35-45%. This is called the Packed Cell Volume- PCV
Ginge was down to a PCV of 18% - any lower and he would have to have a blood transfusion. We noted that a drop of his blood took longer than normal to clot when placed on a glass slide.
On the basis of our findings, we suspected he has eaten some Ratsac- a poison used for killing rodents which stops their blood from clotting. We gave Ginge some Vitamin K injections which is the antidote for Ratsac.
It only took a few hours for his blood to start to clot.
We repeated the blood tests 3 and 10 days later to make sure we were on the right track.
There were many new red blood cells and his PCV had climbed back to 39%.