Use of the neurotoxic rodenticide bromethalin has steadily increased since 2011, resulting in an increased incidence of bromethalin intoxications in pets. Presumptive diagnosis of bromethalin toxicosis relies on history of possible rodenticide exposure coupled with compatible neurologic signs or sudden death, and postmortem examination findings that eliminate other causes of death. Diagnosis is confirmed by detecting the metabolite desmethylbromethalin (DMB) in tissues. In experimental models, spongiform change in white matter of the central nervous system (CNS) is the hallmark histologic feature of bromethalin poisoning. We describe fatal bromethalin intoxication in 3 cats and 2 dogs with equivocal or no CNS white matter spongiform change, illustrating that the lesions described in models can be absent in clinical cases of bromethalin intoxication. Cases with history and clinical signs compatible with bromethalin intoxication warrant tissue analysis for DMB even when CNS lesions are not evident.
- spongiform change
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