Rodenticides were once all anti-coagulant based. With the increased incidence of criminal use, and safety concerns for children and wildlife, most governments have been phasing out anti-coagulant formulas and turning to bromethalin-based poisons that cause intractable seizures.

“We had anecdotes for anti-coagulants,” says Evans. “But regrettably they don’t exist for bromethalin, necessitating a multi-step deconamination protocol including inducing vomiting, promoting toxin absorption with activated char- coal, and very strict watch with supportive care.”

She adds that in some cases anticonvulsant medications and general anesthesia are required to treat seizuring. “The rodenticide is very rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. With these cases, time is truly of the essence. Clinical cases are sometimes given intravenous lipid solution.”

Clinical Signs of Bromethalin Exposure in Dogs and Cats 

Bromethalin toxicosis should be considered when there is moderate to acute onset of lethargy, decreased consciousness, weakness, hind limb paralysis, tremors, seizures and coma. Clinical signs may develop within 4 to 36 hours of exposure.

Treatment of Bromethalin Exposure

If bromethalin toxicosis occurs, the dog’s digestive tract needs to be decontaminated immediately. This may be done by induction of vomiting, and then ad- ministration of activated charcoal and an osmotic cathartic, which will induce the bowels to empty. This process should be repeated every four to eight hours for at least two days following poisoning. Medications may be used to control symptoms such as brain swelling, muscle tremors and seizures. Please consult with MedVet for guidance specific to your individual case.

Bromethalin toxicosis can cause prolonged appetite loss (anorexia), meaning that some dogs will require feeding supplements for a time after initial treatment. It may take several weeks to recover from even a mild bromethalin poisoning. Symptoms should be monitored and managed accordingly to avoid further complications.

Bromethalin Toxicity FAQ’s 

  • If not an anticoagulant, how does bromethalin cause toxicity?

Bromethalin causes an increase in pressurein the CSF and cerebral edema, which leads to neurologic signs.

  • How long after exposure do cats and dogs develop signs of toxicity?

Time from ingestion to onset of signs is variable. Signs can develop from within a few hours up to two weeks following ingestion.

  • Can toxicity result from ingestion of rodents?

Yes. While most toxicities are from direct ingestion of bromethalin, secondary toxicity can occur from ingestion of affected rats and mice.

  • What other conditions can have similar signs to bromethalin toxicity?

Conditions that cause similar neurologic signs can include traumatic brain injuries (such as HBC), intracranial neoplasia, and ingestion of other toxins or medications.

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