Newhouse Wildlife Rescue (Newhouse) of Chelmsford recently took in a red fox named Hawkins who was suspected of ingesting rat poison. His blood was unable to clot, and he was near death. But fortunately, Newhouse was able to nurse him back to health so he can be released back into the wild.
Hawkins' story has stolen the hearts of many — first because he’s so adorable and second because his harrowing experience has put the use of rat poison in the media (and social media) spotlight.
Rodenticides are easy to obtain and may be used in residential or agricultural settings. This means they can be a danger to pets or other animals that come in direct contact with them. Also, if a pet or wildlife eats an animal that has ingested it, secondary poisoning can occur. This is likely what happened to Hawkins, who was having uncontrolled bleeding and would probably have died without treatment.
Recently, Massachusetts State Rep. James Hawkins proposed Legislation HB 4206, which could help protect people, pets and wildlife by limiting the use of rat poison in the state. Newhouse named Hawkins the fox after the lawmaker in the hopes of raising awareness about this issue.
Why It’s Important
Hawkins’ story should be shared with pet parents everywhere because poisoning from rodenticides is one of the most common types of intoxications.
Rodenticides are dangerous poisons that usually contain anticoagulants, which means they stop an animal’s blood from clotting. It can take several days for the signs of rodenticide ingestion to become apparent, making the situation very serious.
According to the MSPCA, to solve “pest” problems one of the recommended approaches is to focus on integrated pest management (IPM), which involves removing nesting materials from problem areas, including boxes, books, papers and food scraps. Other IPM methods include dampening rags with peppermint and putting them under sinks, cabinets, and in cracks. Once pests have “left the building,” seal the cracks with quick-drying cement, use wire mesh, or something else to secure the area. The MSPCA also recommends Havahart live traps if needed. These types of precautionary measures can help protect your furry family member (and wildlife, too) and prevent a costly vet visit or a tragic situation where an animal dies from rat poisoning.
Check Out These Resources
Visit our Resources Web page for tips on how to keep your pet safe and what to do if you suspect your pet has ingested it.
What You Can Do To Help
Keeping your pet safe and healthy is important and can reduce emergency vet visits which can be devastating and costly. Phinney’s believes in keeping people and their beloved pets together. We do this by extending a helping hand to pet parents in need when these emergency vet visits become too costly for some to afford. Ways you can help including donating to Phinney’s: phinneys.org/donate.html or volunteering phinneys.org/volunteer.html. And, anyone in need of help in caring for their pets can visit phinneys.org/get-help for more information.