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Although intended to kill rodents, all rodenticides are potentially toxic to nontargeted mammals including humans. Many different compounds have been used to poison rodents throughout history, but in modern times governmental regulation has attempted to limit the most toxic substances in favor of new poisons with reduced environmental impact. Occasionally with today's global market access, foreign or banned formulations have been introduced into regulated markets and caused unexpected poisonings. There is no way to reliably identify a rodenticide based on its color, shape, or size, and mistakenly assuming that an unknown rodenticide is one of the commonly available products could lead to inappropriate treatment. Therefore, it is important to correctly identify the compound when determining an observation time and treatment plan.


The mechanism of action and usual onset of action of the various rodenticides are described briefly in Table II–57.


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