Evaluating a Rapid Field Assessment System for Anticoagulant Rodenticide Exposure of Raptors

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Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are commonly used to control rodent pests. However, worldwide, their use is associated with secondary and tertiary poisoning of nontarget species, especially predatory and scavenging birds. No medical device can rapidly test for AR exposure of avian wildlife. Prothrombin time (PT) is a useful biomarker for AR exposure, and multiple commercially available point-of-care (POC) devices measure PT of humans, and domestic and companion mammals. We evaluated the potential of one commercially available POC device, the Coag-Sense® PT/INR Monitoring System, to rapidly detect AR exposure of living birds of prey. The Coag-Sense device delivered repeatable PT measurements on avian blood samples collected from four species of raptors trapped during migration (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient > 0.9; overall intra-sample variation CV: 5.7%). However, PT measurements reported by the Coag-Sense system from 81 ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) nestlings were not correlated to those measured by a one-stage laboratory avian PT assay (r = − 0.017, p = 0.88). Although precise, the lack of agreement in PT estimates from the Coag-Sense device and the laboratory assay indicates that this device is not suitable for detecting potential AR exposure of birds of prey. The lack of suitability may be related to the use of a mammalian reagent in the clotting reaction, suggesting that the device may perform better in testing mammalian wildlife [sic]


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