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Ecotoxicology (London, England)

Assessment of toxicity and coagulopathy of brodifacoum in Japanese quail and testing in wild owls.


PMID 25827684

Abstract

Based on detection of hepatic residues, scavenging and predatory non-target raptors are widely exposed to second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). A small proportion, generally <10%, of tested birds are diagnosed as acutely poisoned. Little is known, however, of sub-lethal effects of SGARs, such as interaction of clotting capacity with traumatic injury. Assessment of coagulation function of birds submitted live to wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians may provide a means of establishing the proportion of animals suffering sub-lethal coagulopathies, as well as identifying individuals requiring treatment. As a first step in exploring the potential of this approach, we dosed Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) with the SGAR, brodifacoum, at 0, 0.8, 1.4, 1.9, and 2.5 mg/kg and sampled birds at 1, 3, 5 and 7 days post-dosing. Prothrombin time (PT), which measures the extrinsic coagulation pathway, was significantly prolonged in 98% of brodifacoum-exposed quail in a dose- and time-dependent manner. 50-fold prolongation of PT occurred at higher brodifacoum dosages and correlated to hemorrhage found at necropsy. Activated clotting time (ACT), a measure of the intrinsic pathway also increased with dose and time. Hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct) decreased dose- and time-dependently at doses ≥1.4 mg/kg with no significant change at 0.8 mg/kg. Reference intervals for PT (10.0-16.2 s), ACT (30-180 s), Hb (9.6-18.4 g/dl), and Hct (34-55%) were established in Japanese quail. Species-specific reference intervals are required as barn owl PT (17-29 s) and quail PT were different. The proportion of brodifacoum-exposed quail with hemorrhage was not correlated with liver residues, but was correlated with PT, suggesting that this assay is a useful indicator of avian anticoagulant rodenticide exposure. PTs measured in free-living barn owls sampled between April 2009 and August 2010 in the lower Fraser Valley of BC do not suggest significant exposure to SGARs.

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