Rodenticide poisoning in an urban coyote
In January 2013, a dead juvenile coyote was found in an urban park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The coyote was examined by pathologists at the Animal Health Centre, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, and was diagnosed with anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity. Tissue testing revealed the presence of three different rodenticides: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and difethalone.
Anticoagulant rodenticides are a group of poisons that kill rodents by impairing their ability to stop bleeding. They are part of many poison rodent baits available for sale to pest control professionals and to the general public. Unfortunately, rodenticides often poison non-rodent species who either eat the poison or who feed on rodents that have consumed poison.
Rodents are an important food source for urban coyotes, and we suspect that consumption of poisoned rodents is how this coyote became poisoned. The presence of more than one rodenticide in the coyote’s tissues suggests that it may have consumed several poisoned rodents from different sources. Pesticide incidents involving wildlife should be reported to Health Canada (www.hc-sc.gc.ca) so that they can be recorded and tracked.