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Brodifacoum toxicity in American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) with evidence of increased hazard upon subsequent anticoagulant rodenticide exposure

November 9, 2019

A seminal question in ecotoxicology is the extent to which contaminant exposure evokes prolonged effects on physiological function and fitness. A series of studies were undertaken with American kestrels ingesting environmentally realistic concentrations of the second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) brodifacoum (BROD). Kestrels fed BROD at 0.3, 1.0 or 3.0 µg/g diet wet wt for 7 d exhibited dose-dependent hemorrhage, histopathological lesions and coagulopathy (prolonged prothrombin and Russell’s viper venom times). Following termination of a 7 d exposure to 0.5 µg BROD/g diet, prolonged blood clotting time returned to baseline values within a week, but BROD residues in liver and kidney (terminal half-life estimates >50 d) persisted during the 28 d recovery period. In order to examine the hazard of sequential AR exposure, kestrels were exposed to either the firstgeneration AR chlorophacinone (CPN; 1.5 µg/g diet) or the SGAR BROD (0.5 µg/g diet) for 7 d, and following a recovery period, were challenged with a low dose of CPN (0.75 µg/g diet) for 7 d. In BROD-exposed kestrels, the challenge exposure clearly prolonged prothrombin time compared to naïve controls and kestrels previously exposed to CPN. These data provide evidence that the SGAR BROD may have prolonged effects that increase toxicity of subsequent AR exposure. As free-ranging predatory and scavenging wildlife are often repeatedly exposed to ARs, such protracted toxicological effects need to be considered in hazard and risk assessments.