Many cat owners know the dangers of rodenticides (pesticides used to kill rats), but the rise of bromethalin should have owners on high alert. This poison acts as a neurotoxin that affects a victim’s brain and liver, often leading to a fluid buildup in the brain and a painful death. There is currently no cure or diagnostic test for bromethalin poisoning. This leaves few options for treatment. Veterinarians will try and get the poison out of a cat's system through inducing vomiting and using activated charcoal. Bromethalin is fast acting and pet owners often only have hours to treat a cat for poisoning before they will die.
The increase in the use of rodenticides occurred after a 2008 EPA directive to make rodenticides safer. The directive mandated all consumer marketed rodenticides phase out the use of long acting anticoagulants. Although this directive intended to make humans and animals safer, it is having the opposite effect because manufacturers are increasingly using bromethalin as a substitute. Human and animal exposure to bromethalin is increasing and many cat owners are forced to watch their pets painfully die from poisoning. The EPA allows for bromethalin to be placed outside as long as it is within 50 feet of a building. Allowing this harmful poison outside increases the risk to humans, wildlife and pets. Owners who allow their pets outside should be especially alert for signs of poisoning such as unsteadiness, muscle tremors, vomiting and seizures. Even indoor cats are at risk through secondary poisoning by eating mice that have ingested the poison.
This deadly toxin should not be allowed around our pets! Contact EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and tell him to ban the use of this dangerous poison.
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Huntington S, Fenik Y, Vohra R, et al. Human bromethalin exposures reported to a U.S. Statewide Poison Control System. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2016;54:277-281.
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Kent, M. & Glass, E. (June 13, 2017). Veterinary neurology alert: Bromethalin toxicosis on the rise in pets. Retrieved from http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/veterinary-neurology-alert-bromethalin-toxicosis-rise-pets?pageID=1
Rat Poisonings in Cats. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/toxicity/c_ct_bromethalin_rodenticide_toxicity
Restrictions on Rodenticide Products. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/rodenticides/restrictions-rodenticide-products
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