On December 14, homeowners in Staunton found an injured squirrel in their driveway. The homeowners had recently put out several rat poison stations around their yard to control the rodent population.
Dr. Ernesto examined the female squirrel at admission, and found her to be depressed and not standing, but was in good body condition. No fractures or obvious injuries were found, though during the physical exam, the squirrel started seizing. Based on the lack of physical injuries and the presence of neurologic signs, combined with case history, Dr. Ernesto believes that the squirrel ingested the rat poison.
The squirrel was given fluids and Vitamin K, which assists with blood-clotting. Rat poison works by inhibiting an animal's Vitamin K production, and in turn, the affected animal bleeds to death internally. The squirrel's prognosis is grave.
Rat poison does not simply target rats; many wild (and domestic) animals can ingest and be affected by poison. In turn, predators -- including hawks, owls, falcons, foxes, bobcats, and more -- can be poisoned when they eat affected prey. For more information, visit: www.raptorsarethesolution.org.