Rat poison contains four types of common active ingredients: ong-acting anticoagulants, cholecalciferol, bromethalin and zinc phosphides. These ingredients are commonly known as rodenticides and are intended to kill rats and other rodents through ingestion or fumigation.
Long-acting anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting, which leads to death in two days due to internal bleeding. Cholecalciferol, also known as vitamin D3, causes kidney failure in two to four days by raising calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. Bromethalin incites brain swelling, which quickly leads to seizure and paralysis. Metal phosphides, which are derived from zinc, calcium or aluminum, and produce gastric symptoms such as bloating and vomiting. Zinc phosphides are put in bait, while calcium and aluminum phosphides are used in fumigants.
Rat poisons must be used with caution since pets may also ingest them or the infected rodent. Antidotes include vitamin K1 or treatments available from a veterinarian in case of accidental poisoning.