The RSPCA has issued a warning to dog owners to be on the lookout for any suspicious materials in their yards, following reports of dog baiting attempts in the Maitland area.
The warnings come after several posts on social media from concerned pet owners and following two recent incidents of dogs ingesting ice at Raworth off leash dog park.
Between January 2019 to 13 August 2019 RSPCA NSW recorded 46 cruelty complaints related to baiting. They did not have Maitland specific figures.
A post by a pet owner on a local community awareness page last week said rat bait had been thrown into a yard in the Gillieston Heights area. She found a bottle labelled "poison" which the dog had been playing with. Fortunately her pet had not broken through the plastic which contained rat bait with peanut butter smeared over the container. She said people in Cliftleigh, Gillieston Heights and Heddon Greta, need to be wary.
An RSPCA spokesperson said the best protection from accidental poisoning is to prevent access to baits by containing pets indoors and ensuring if dogs are walked during baiting operations that they remain on a lead, are walked in non-baiting areas and are prevented from digging up and ingesting suspect baits. "Private land holders and government authorities will also display large signs when baiting programs are undertaken - so look out for these signs and avoid these areas. Remain vigilant and report any suspect, deliberately placed baits to the police and RSPCA," the spokesperson said.
"If you suspect or know that your pet has eaten a poison bait, contact your nearest veterinarian immediately. "Do not delay action or wait for your pet to exhibit symptoms. If they have eaten a PAPP (para-aminopropiophenone) bait, which used in the control of wild dogs, the antidote must be given within 30-45 minutes of bait ingestion in order for your pet to have a reasonable chance of complete recovery."
If you suspect your pet has eaten rat bait, contact your vet as soon as possible. Rat bait poisoning can be treated, but the chance of recovery depends on how severely the dog or cat is affected, amount of bait consumed, and what kind of bait they ate. Seeking veterinary treatment as soon as possible is critical, with many needing prolonged treatment due to the lingering effects of the baits.
Signs of rat bait poisoning may include: Obvious external signs of haemorrhage (dependent on where the bleeding is; for example bruising, bloody faeces or urine, nose bleeds, vomiting blood), lethargy, weakness, wobbliness, loss of appetite, distended abdomen from bleeding into the abdomen, coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing from bleeding into the chest, pale gums from anaemia, bulging of eyes from bleeding behind the eyes, sudden death with no obvious clinical signs can also occur.