Monday, September 21, 2009

Rat Poison, Anyone?

My wife Tara and I currently have a little bit of a mouse problem in our house. We had a pretty big problem last year and after all else failed, we brought in Orkin Pest Control to handle it. And handle it, they did. Our mouse problem was pretty much taken care of until the start of this fall, when the little monsters inevitably returned. Still being under contract with Orkin, we requested their services once again last week. In addition to putting down more traps and plugging up some holes we hadn't noticed, they put some poison into a strategic location under one of our counters, out of reach of any humans or pets that may be in the house. This poison, called bromadiolone, comes in the form of little blue and red cubes. Once the mouse eats it, the poison acts as a blood thinner. Long story short, the mouse dies and there is much rejoicing.

Sounds safe enough, right?

This past Friday night, at about 10:30pm, Tara and I came home to find our dog, Bailey playing with a piece of this bromadiolone poison, and to boot, it was half eaten. Usually when one of us freaks out, the other one automatically becomes calm and rises to the occasion. Tara freaked, so that meant I was on calm and collected duty. I checked under the counter; the glue traps, which were in front of the poison, were undisturbed. If Bailey had somehow gotten in there, she would have had glue traps stuck to her fur, which would've been a whole other issue in and of itself. But as it was, there was no way she would have been able to reach the poison where the Orkin rep had placed it. The only logical possibility is that he somehow left a piece sitting out before he left. Bailey was acting completely normal and not showing any symptoms of illness, so I wasn't sure how serious the situation was, if at all.

I called Orkin's emergency number and asked them to tell me the name of the poison and how toxic it is to dogs. After a short time, I got a call from Orkin's branch manager and he told me to take Bailey to the ER and that he would cover the charges. And with that, we headed out to the only veterinary hospital that was open at 11pm, the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

When we got to the Penn Vet ER, they immediately took Bailey in the back and gave her a drug to induce vomiting. After that, they gave her a charcoal substance to absorb whatever might have been digested. Bailey was then brought back out to us in the waiting room, all chipper and happy as ever, without a clue as to what just happened. We were told that she would be just fine and that we just needed to be discharged. At this point, it was about 12:30am and I figured this had turned out to be a pretty quick and painless outing.

Now normally, when you think of being discharged from any place, you imagine going up to the window, collecting your bill, and heading out on your way. Well, it turns out that "discharge" at the Penn Vet ER involves continuing to sit in the waiting room until summoned by a doctor, having your pet receive a full physical, and answering tons of questions. This once-seemingly painless discharge didn't even take place until 3:30am due to the crowd that materialized in the ER that night. When all was said and done that night, we didn't get out of there until 4am, and we were told we would need to come back in 48 hours so that Bailey could have her blood tested to make sure her clotting factors were working properly (which thankfully, two days later, tested normal). We also learned that Bailey was the third dog brought into the ER that night for having ingested bromadiolone, so clearly this was a routine occurrence at this hospital. I wonder if the doctors roll their eyes behind closed doors each time this happens...

Overall, I am very grateful to the Ryan Hospital at Penn Vet for their great work and to Orkin's branch manager for being willing to cover the vet bill for us. I explained to the Orkin manager that we are not angry at the rep who may have left a piece of bromadiolone poison out and that we are not interested in seeking any sort of legal action against him or Orkin. Even though this was a serious situation, mistakes do happen and the fact that they are covering the bill and that Bailey is healthy is good enough for us. I would still recommend Orkin to anyone having pest control problems.

With that, my work here is done. When the next emergency situation arises, it will be my turn to freak out.

No comments:

Post a Comment