A 15-year-old, female secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) was evaluated following a 2-day episode of lethargy and anorexia. On the third day, lime-green hair pellets were found in the enclosure. Rodent bait stations containing 0.005% bromadiolone (Contrac®, Bell Laboratories, Madison, WI, USA) were located in the vicinity, but not within the enclosure. Clinical signs consistent with anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity were noted on examination including lethargy, bruising, petechial hemorrhages, and prolonged clotting time at the venipuncture site. Diagnostic tests were supportive of a coagulopathy with prolonged OSPT (one-stage prothrombin time), APTT (activated partial thromboplastin time), and PIVKA (proteins induced by vitamin K1 absence or antagonism), compared to canine values. The bird was treated with oral and parenteral vitamin K1 (Butler Company, Columbus, OH, USA; 0.5 mg/kg), fluids, and antimicrobials for 46 days, at which time the bird died while under anesthesia related to prior disease.
Anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity was suspected in this case based on clinical signs and evidence of green discoloration of the regurgitated pellet. Therapy was instituted prior to a definitive diagnosis and seemed to have a slow but progressively positive effect. The diagnostic tests revealing prolonged clotting times supported a coagulopathy diagnosis.
Bromadiolone is a second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide commonly used in rodent baits that has a single feeding mortality rate of 90%.3 The recommended treatment in birds following ingestion, either by primary or secondary exposure, is 0.2–2.2 mg/kg vitamin K1 IM every 4–8 h until the condition stabilizes, followed by once daily dosing for 2–3 weeks.1,2 Treatment with antimicrobials and supportive care may also be indicated.
1. Bauck, L., and J. LaBonde. 1997. Toxic diseases. In: Altman, R.B., S.L. Clubb, G.M. Dorrenstein, and K. Quesenberry (eds.). Avian Medicine and Surgery. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 604–613.
2. Jenkins, J.R. 1997. Avian critical care and emergency medicine. In: Altman, R.B., S.L. Clubb, G.M. Dorrenstein, and K. Quesenberry (eds.). Avian Medicine and Surgery. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 839–863.
3. Thomson, W.T. 1988. Agricultural Chemicals—Book III: Fumigants, Growth Regulators, Repellents, and Rodenticides. Thomson Publications, Fresno, California. 182.