Rodenticide toxicity

Rodenticides are a commonly used pesticide in and around households to control rodent infestations. The problem with these products is that they are an appealing treat to cats and dogs that can be fatal. They typically come in a pellet or block form of varying sizes and usually have some kind of coloring to them to easily identify them as a pesticide.

Rodenticides can result in either a bleeding disorder or a neurologic disorder.  Those products containing the active ingredients Warfarin, Bromadiolone, Brodifacoum, Chlorphacinone and Diphacinone are linked to causing bleeding disorders. Rodenticides containing Bromethalin lead to a neurologic disorder. It is important to bring in the packaging material of the bait so that the veterinarian can determine the best course of treatment. best double stroller

Rodenticides that cause bleeding disorders, meaning they affect a pet’s ability to clot, can take 2-3 days for clinical signs to develop post ingestion. It is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) and can have toxic effects to the liver as well.  The bleeding results due to inhibition of epoxide reductase which leads to a loss of vitamin K production. This leads to a loss of Clotting factors II, VII, IX and X. Toxicity doses are based on the active ingredient in the product but range from 0.25mg/kg to 100mg/kg. Clinical signs include blood in the stool, bleeding from the gums, epistaxis or bleeding from the nose, respiratory distress due to hemorrhaging in the lungs, hematuria or blood in the urine and distended or large abdomen due to hemorrhaging.  Treatment includes inducing vomiting followed by active charcoal administration and sometimes hospitalization for blood and plasma transfusions. Baseline clotting times (PT will test the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways) are usually performed and the patients are typically sent home with Vitamin K therapy for 3-4 weeks. Clotting times  are then rechecked 36-48hrs after the last dose of Vitamin K is given.

Rodenticides leading to a neurologic disorder contain the active ingredient Bromethalin. Bromethalin causes the uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation in CNS and liver mitochondria resulting in a decrease in ATP and alteration in Na/K ATPase. This leads to a functional inhibition of ion channel pumps which causes a gradual inability to maintain osmotic gradients and an accumulation of sodium inside of the cells. Fluid buildup results in cerebral and spinal cord edema as well as dehydration of the tissues. Decreased nerve impulse conduction occurs concurrently due to a marked increase in cerebral spinal fluid pressure.Like the other types of rodenticides it is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) with toxic doses ranging from 2.4 – 3.7mg/kg. Lethal doses have been seen with ingestions at 2.5mg/kg.  Unlike the coagulopathy disorder, Bromethalin rodenticides has two types of syndromes: an acute syndrome at high doses or a delayed progressive one at lower doses Best Strollers 2017

Clinical signs include depression, seizures, abnormal behavior, uncoordinated steps and hind limb paralysis.  Treatment includes inducing vomiting, if clinical signs are not present, followed by activated charcoal administration. Baseline lab work will help assess the need for fluid therapy and hospitalization is highly recommended for monitoring temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, mentation and urine production. In addition to fluid therapy, mannitol is a diuretic that is sometimes needed to help treat swelling in the brain, anticonvulsants like valium and phenobarbital may be needed to control seizures and methocarbamol is sometimes used to help treat muscle tremors.

Rodenticide ingestion is very serious and if you suspect or know that your pet has ingested any you should immediately seek medical attention. Common questions that you will be asked are: when did he/she ingest it? and How much was ingested? Also, remember to bring in the packaging to help the veterinarian prescribe the correct treatment. If you don’t have the packaging (because the pet ate it), if you can remember a brand name or look of the packaging that will help. To avoid exposure to this potentially fatal toxin we recommend using other rodent control options that do not use these products.