SODIUM FLUOROACETATE

SODIUM FLUOROACETATE

Sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as 1080, is a highly toxic pesticide that was introduced to Australia in 1952 to control rabbits. 1080 is currently used to control a range of animal species such as foxes, wild dogs and feral pigs across Australia and New Zealand. A similar compound known as potassium fluoroacetate is found in a number of Australian plant species including the Acacia georginae (gidgee), Gastrolobium spp., and Oxylobium spp. Consequently, native animal species in some areas of Australia are noted to be less susceptible to 1080 poisoning than introduced species. In Australia, 1080 is a restricted pesticide that is only available to those with training in its use and handling.

The relative toxicity of 1080 to various animals varies, with dogs and cats being highly susceptible to poisoning. Alongside native animal species, other animals including birds, reptiles and amphibians appear to be less susceptible to the toxic effects. After a lethal ingestion, signs of toxicity can occur within 30 minutes of exposure but can be delayed by several hours. Early signs include restlessness and hyperexcitation with affected dogs typically developing frenzied behaviour including running and barking for no apparent reason. This is followed soon after by vomiting, urinating and defecating uncontrollably which progresses to seizures. The survival rate in poisoned dogs is low, however early recognition and appropriate aggressive treatment has been reported to improve the chances of survival.

As 1080 has no specific antidote, prevention of poisoning is essential. Unfortunately as 1080 is frequently incorporated into meat baits, it can be highly appetizing to dogs and other companion animals. Pet dogs should be kept well away from areas where baits may be distributed, these areas should be sign-posted. A muzzle can also assist in preventing dogs from eating baits or scavenging on carcasses that may be contaminated with trace amounts of 1080. Following any suspected ingestion, immediate veterinary assessment is recommended and may potentially be life-saving.

The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and can be reached on ☎️1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ). If you don’t already follow the Animal Poisons Helpline Facebook Page, follow now to receive live animal poisons alerts and updates. If you are a member of a veterinary team in Australia or New Zealand, you can join the Animal Poisons Centre For Vets Facebook group which is regularly updated with toxicology tidbits and poisoning trends.