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J Wildl Dis. 2019 May 21. [Epub ahead of print]

PREVALENCE OF ANTICOAGULANT RODENTICIDES IN FECES OF WILD RED FOXES (VULPES VULPES) IN NORWAY.

Author information

1
1   Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, PO Box 369 Sentrum, 0102 Oslo, Norway.
2
2   Norwegian Poisons Information Center, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Division of Environmental Medicine, PO Box 222 Skøyen, 0213 Oslo, Norway.
3
3   Oslo University Hospital, Division of Laboratory Medicine, Department of Forensic Sciences, PO Box 4450 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway.
4
4   Norwegian Veterinary Institute, PO Box 750 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo, Norway.
5
5   University of Oslo, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, PO Box 1171 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway.
6
6   University of Oslo, School of Pharmacy, PO Box 1068 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway.

Abstract

High occurrence of anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) in wildlife is a rising concern, with numerous reports of secondary exposure through predation. Because of widespread distribution of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), they may act as sentinels for small mammal-hunting predators in rural, suburban, and urban areas. No AR surveillance in wild mammals with analyses of residues in feces has been conducted throughout a single country. We collected 163 fecal samples from presumed healthy red foxes from 18 out of 19 counties in Norway. The foxes were shot during regular hunting between January and December 2016 and samples collected directly after death. Fecal samples were analyzed for six ARs: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, coumatetralyl, difenacoum, difethialone, and flocoumafen. We detected ARs in 54% (75/139) of the animals. Brodifacoum was most frequently detected (46%; 64/139), followed by coumatetralyl (17%; 23/139), bromadiolone (16%; 22/139), difenacoum (5%; 7/139), difethialone (1%; 2/139), and flocoumafen (1%; 2/139). More than one substance was detected in 40% (30/75) of the positive foxes, and 7% (5/75) of these animals were exposed to four different ARs. There were no statistically significant seasonal, age, or sex differences in foxes after exposure to one AR compound. We found a significant difference in occurrence of brodifacoum and coumatetralyl in foxes from different geographical areas. These findings demonstrate fecal analyses as a valuable method of detecting AR exposure in red foxes. We suggest using direct fecal sampling with analyses as a method to evaluate the occurrence of ARs in live endangered wildlife in connection with radio tagging or collaring operations.

KEYWORDS:

Carnivores; fecal analyses; nontarget animal; predators; rat poison; secondary exposure; wildlife

PMID:
31112468

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