A DOG was forced to undergo emergency treatment after eating rat bait.

Eagle-eyed owner Joanna Firth spotted her Labrador Ernie eating the poison and immediately called a vet.

Following treatment at Vets Now in Worthing, the one-year-old dog survived.

Rat poison is highly toxic to dogs and can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure, organ damage and death if eaten by a dog.

Joanna, an occupational therapist from Worthing, said she had left Ernie with her father while away, before returning to collect him.

“My dad lives locally and used to have Labradors himself, so he’s quite happy to look after him,” she said. 

“Unfortunately, his house has a bit of a rodent problem from time to time and he had put these rat bait sachets down.

"Obviously, he thought they were in places Ernie wouldn’t be able to get to, but Labradors have a way of sniffing out anything they think may be food.

The Argus: Ernie the dog on the beach in Worthing. Credit: Vets Now Ernie the dog on the beach in Worthing. Credit: Vets Now

“I walked in literally at the very moment he was at the sachet. We lunged to get it, but he ate the whole thing before we could stop him.

“We knew we needed to get help fast and phoned Vets Now right away as it was in the evening and our vets was closed. Although Ernie hadn’t been sick and was actually looking fine, we realised there was no time to lose.”

Joanna said she was aware of the potentially fatal consequences and is now urging all pet owners to be extra careful when rodent traps are around.

The Vets Now clinic in Worthing is one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.

As soon as he arrived, Ernie was assessed and urgently treated.

The Argus: Ernie the dog underwent emergency treatment after eating rat bait in Worthing. Credit: Vets NowErnie the dog underwent emergency treatment after eating rat bait in Worthing. Credit: Vets Now

“Ernie was fine when we got him back later that evening, but we know it could have been different,” Joanna added.

“We wouldn’t have realised anything was wrong until much later if I hadn’t walked in at that moment and saw him eating it. That’s what worries me the most and I think we were very lucky indeed.

“It was a really frightening time and my dad felt bad about what happened, so I’d just urge every owner to make sure they keep any rat bait away from dogs. And not to delay in getting help if you need it. Thanks to Vets Now it all worked out happily for us.”

There are several types of rat poison, including the most common anticoagulant rodenticides, which can cause internal bleeding.

Vets Now nurse Olivia Hurst said: “Our team gave him an injection to make him sick and he brought up some food and the rat bait.

“It’s vital to get the poison out of the system quickly and happily we were able to do that with Ernie.

"After checking his condition, we were then able to let him go home with activated charcoal liquid and a course of tablets to counteract the effects.”