1080 is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, water-soluble chemical that is highly toxic (0.1–8 mg/kg) to all animals, including humans. Its use is restricted to certain commercial applications. Fluoroacetate is metabolized to fluorocitrate, which blocks the tricarboxylic acid cycle—a mechanism necessary for cellular energy production. It causes toxic effects by overstimulating the CNS, resulting in death by convulsions, and by causing alteration of cardiac function that results in myocardial depression, cardiac arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation, and circulatory collapse. CNS stimulation is the main effect in dogs, while the cardiac effects predominate in horses, sheep, goats, and chickens. Pigs and cats appear about equally affected by both.
A characteristic lag phase of ≥30 min after ingestion occurs before the onset of nervousness and restlessness. Marked depression and weakness follow in all species except dogs and pigs. Affected animals rapidly become prostrate, and the pulse is weak and 2–3 times normal rate. Death is due to cardiac failure. Usually, dogs and pigs rapidly develop tetanic convulsions similar to those of strychnine poisoning. Many exhibit severe pain. Vomiting is prominent in pigs. Dogs usually have urinary and fecal incontinence and exhibit frenzied running. The course is rapid; affected animals die within hours after signs appear. Few animals that develop marked signs recover. Congestion of organs, cyanosis, subepicardial hemorrhages, and a heart stopped in diastole are common necropsy findings.
Emetics are contraindicated if clinical signs are present. Gastric lavage and adsorbents (activated charcoal, 0.5 g/kg) are recommended. Prognosis is grave if clinical signs are severe. Barbiturates are preferred for controlling seizures. Glyceryl monoacetate (monacetin) has been used with inconsistent results as a competitive antagonist of fluor-oacetate. The recommended dose is 0.55 mL/kg, IM, or IV in 5 parts of sterile saline solution, every 30 min for several hours.
The danger of secondary poisoning due to ingestion of rodents killed with 1080 is high and has led to restrictions in its use (and use of fluoroacetamide) in the USA. Only certified, insured exterminators can purchase 1080, and a black dye must be mixed with it for identification.
1081 causes signs similar to those of 1080 and requires the same treatment.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by Frederick W. Oehme, DVM, PhD