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Toxicokinetics and coagulopathy threshold of the rodenticide diphacinone in eastern screech-owls (Megascops asio)



In the United States, new regulations on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides will likely be offset by expanded use of first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. In the present study, eastern screech-owls (Megascops asio) were fed 10 µg diphacinone/g wet weight food for 7 d, and recovery was monitored over a 21-d postexposure period. By day 3 of exposure, diphacinone (DPN) was detected in liver (1.63 µg/g wet wt) and kidney (5.83 µg/g) and coagulopathy was apparent. By day 7, prothrombin time (PT) and Russell's viper venom time (RVVT) were prolonged, and some individuals were anemic. Upon termination of exposure, coagulopathy and anemia were resolved within 4 d, and residues decreased to <0.3 µg/g by day 7. Liver and kidney DPN elimination occurred in 2 phases (initial rapid loss, followed by slower loss rate), with overall half-lives of 11.7 d and 2.1 d, respectively. Prolonged PT and RVVT occurred in 10% of the exposed owls with liver DPN concentrations of 0.122 µg/g and 0.282 µg/g and in 90% of the owls with liver concentrations of 0.638 µg/g and 0.361 µg/g. These liver residue levels associated with coagulopathy fall in the range of values reported in raptor mortality incidents involving DPN. These tissue-based toxicity reference values for coagulopathy in adult screech-owls have application for interpreting nontarget mortality and assessing the hazard of DPN in rodent-control operations. Diphacinone exposure evokes toxicity in raptors within a matter of days; but once exposure is terminated, recovery of hemostasis occurs rapidly. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:74–81. © 2013 SETAC. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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