What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Rat, Mouse or Rodent Bait Ingested, Known to Have Occurred


Rodent poison is often grain-based, and is palatable to some horses. Usually, it is consumed in contaminated grain or when a horse gains access to a feed storage area. Horses rarely consume a sufficient quantity of these poisons to cause illness. However, severe illness can result depending on the type of poison and amount ingested, as these chemicals can be very toxic to horses.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

If you have reason to believe that a horse ate rodent bait, find the box or save the label, so that you can identify the type of active ingredient in the poison. Anticoagulants are the most common active ingredient in rodent poison, but other chemicals (including zinc phosphide or calciferols) that have a completely different toxicological effect are also used.

Even if you believe that your horse did not eat a significant amount of poison, do not take a "wait and see" approach. Call your vet immediately. Prompt treatment, including iv fluids, supportive nursing care and vitamin K1 may be advised.

You can also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) 24-Hour Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.

your vet's role

Your vet looks for signs of toxicity, may try to remove stomach contents using a tube but this is often too little, too late as the poison has already moved downstream of the stomach. They may choose to start preventative treatment right away. The specific treatments chosen will depend on the active ingredient in the rodent bait.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What toxin or poison do you think your horse ingested?
  • How much toxin do you think the horse ingested?
  • How is the horse's attitude and appetite?
  • How long ago do you think this happened?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP