Whether you decide to bait, trap, or adopt a barn cat to control the rodent population, the mouse plague in parts of rural NSW has Goulburn residents scurrying for solutions.
One of the biggest questions? How people can keep their pets safe.
Crookwell Veterinary Hospital vet Dr Jayde Costello recommended not to use mouse or rat poison if you have pets.
She said regardless of whether the brand promised to be unappealing to pets, an inquisitive dog or cat would "go for a bait no matter what".
She said some poisons, particularly those with a warfarin base, took two or three days for the toxic effects to develop in pets causing symptoms.
The vet recommended ringing your local veterinarian as soon as possible if you were concerned.
"We can induce vomiting," she said.
"If we are concerned we can put the animal on a long course of Vitamin K1 treatment."
She said the animal hospital had seen a few pets in the initial stages of poisoning over the past few weeks.
Ms Costello said the toxin found in most rat and mouse baits caused the body to stop clotting blood which led to internal and/or external bleeding.
She recommended the use of traps as a "relatively humane way to go". The vet said some types of traps captured the mice alive but they then needed to be humanely euthanised.
Mouse Off, a commercially available poison, is more dangerous for pets than conventional baits.
The vet said there was no antidote and it worked a lot faster.
"It can be quite detrimental."
The Canberra Street Cat Alliance (CSCA) offers an unusual solution to rodent problems. The Barn Cat Program allows people to help control mice and offer a home to a feral or unowned cat.
The cats do not expect much in the way of human contact, and prefer to be left alone. In return for providing a safe space, water and food, they will work to reduce the rodent population.
These cats are currently in unsafe situations, so in addition to becoming an expert mouser, the felines will be saved them from life on the streets.
The CSCA has advised that if the barn kitties are fed daily with cat food, they will be less inclined to prey on native wildlife. If any wildlife predation is observed the organisation will take the cat back and put it in foster care.
The adoption fee is $100 and the cats come desexed, microchipped and vaccinated. The CSCA will help settle the cats in to their new space and may assist with transport to surrounding regions.
Visit the Canberra Street Cat Alliance for more information.
Symptoms of poisoning in pets include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale gums
- Bloody nose
- Swellings on the skin
- Bleeding gums
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