Suspected Anticoagulant Bait Confirmed to be Bromethalin
Amy Phillips, Analytical Chemistry Technician and Travis Mays, MS, PhD, Analytical Chemistry Section Head
A male kitten was rescued by animal control and taken to a veterinary clinic for labored breathing, dehydration and severe jaundice. The kitten was euthanized and found to have petechial hemorrhaging and yellow fluid in the abdomen during the necropsy. Three days later, a tuna can with what appeared to be a suspect bright green bait material was found in the area where the kitten was rescued. The tuna can with the suspected bait material was submitted to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) for anticoagulant rodenticide testing.
The anticoagulant rodenticide screen was negative, but toxicology staff noted the bait sample was similar in color to bromethalin bait and suggested the sample be tested for bromethalin.
Bromethalin was confirmed in the sample by liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Bromethalin is also a rodenticide, but differs from anticoagulants in that it functions as a neurotoxin rather than an anticoagulant. Bromethalin inhibits the sodium phosphate pump, which causes fluid to build up along the myelin sheath. Tremors, hyperreflexia, hind limb paralysis, nystagmus and cerebral edema are all symptoms of bromethalin toxicity. Treatment includes anticonvulsants and diuretics, such as Mannitol. There is disagreement about inducing emesis in patients suffering from bromethalin toxicity because neurologic symptoms can cause them to aspirate.
For more information about TVMDL’s testing options for these toxins and many others, visit tvmdl.tamu.edu or call 1.888.646.5623.