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First Aid for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the toxic compound.

What is Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

  • Rodenticides are chemical compounds that are used to eliminate rodents (particularly mice and rats). Anticoagulants are substances that inhibit normal blood clotting process
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides work by preventing blood clotting in rodents, leading to severe, uncontrolled internal hemorrhage and subsequent death of the rodents
  • Some rodenticides are less toxic and need to be administered in several doses over a few days, known as multiple-dose anticoagulant rodenticides. While, some rodenticides are more toxic and need to be administered only once; these are called single dose anticoagulant rodenticides
  • Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of any product containing the toxic compound
  • Even though both single dose and multiple dose anticoagulant rodenticides are toxic, single dose rodenticides are more toxic than multiple dose rodenticides. It is important to note what kind of rodenticide is causing the poisoning
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning or Anticoagulant Rodenticide Toxicity may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • D-Con Mouse Prufe II Poisoning
  • Ramik, Diphacin (Diphacinone) Poisoning
  • Rat-Killer Poisoning
  • Talon (Brodifacoum) Poisoning

What are the Causes of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

  • Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is caused by the intake or ingestion of anticoagulant rodenticide
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • The pesticide may contain a variety of mild, moderate, or severely toxic substances including brodifacoum, bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, coumachlor, difenacoum, diphacinone, difethialone, warfarin, 2-isovaleryl-1,3-indandione, and 2-pivaloyl-1,3-indandione

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning can vary from one individual to another and depends upon the quantity consumed. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the digestive system, nervous system, vascular system, respiratory system, skin and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting (blood in vomit)
  • Blood in urine and stool
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Pale skin, easy bruising and bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Cramping of stomach/abdomen
  • Irregular heart-rate
  • Decreased blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Bleeding in the brain may cause confusion and increased nervousness, altered mental state
  • Severe shock

How is First Aid administered for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning:

  • If the individual with Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency help number) immediately
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Administer suitable medication (vitamin K) to counter effects of the toxin
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

First aid for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • The quantity and type (whether single or multiple dose) poison consumed and access to correct treatment are the most important prognostic indicators. This may help avoid the condition from getting worse and prevent complications
  • If organs, such as the heart, brain, and kidneys, are affected; then, recovery may be delayed. In such cases, complete recovery may not take place. Deaths are reported within a few days, or it may occur even after 14 days

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning be Prevented?

Anticoagulant Rodenticide Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any household products
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Keep all poisons correctly labeled and in suitable storage locations
  • Wearing appropriate protective wear when working with such chemicals
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 9, 2017
Last updated: March 5, 2018