Although designed to kill rats, any mammal is at risk if D-con is ingested, with side effects including weakness, general lethargy, breathing difficulties, lack of appetite and blood in the urine. Pets such as dogs and cats are particularly at risk, as poison capsules are often appealing to eat.
How D-con poison affects the system
D-con is an anticoagulant poison, and works by preventing the formation of blood clots, which causes the recipient of the poison to eventually die from internal bleeding. Because mammals all have a similar system in regards to forming blood clots, the poison is equally dangerous to humans as it is to animals.
A key element in ensuring the formation of blood clots is vitamin K. D-con works by inhibiting the host body's production of vitamin K, which means that clots are unable to form. Given that all mammals experience a number of tears in blood vessels on a daily basis (that are normally dealt with by the body seamlessly), the vitamin K inhibition causes progressively lethal levels of internal bleeding.
While the symptoms can make poisoning quickly identifiable, they do not usually appear for a number of days after initial ingestion. Checking the color of a dog or cat's feces can be a quick indicator of poisoning, as it will appear green or blue in color as a result of the pellet dye.