Vitamin K antagonism (warfarin, brodifacoum toxicity)

Vitamin K antagonism (warfarin, brodifacoum toxicity)

Species: Dogs and cats most commonly tested

Specimen: Whole blood

Container: Citrate (blue top)

Collection protocol:

Collect blood with a minimum of trauma so coagulation cascade is not triggered, preferably from the jugular so a good flow is ensured. Fill the tube to the level indicated on the blood tube.

Special handling/shipping requirements: Keep cool and send to laboratory as soon as possible

General information about the disease:

A full coagulation screen will help to rule out some causes of haemorrhage. PT is increased first but both PT and APTT may be increased TT is normal. Platelets may be mildly to moderately decreased as a result of consumption/ haemorrhage. It may take up to 48-72 hours for clotting times to be increased.

Measure PT 2-3 days after stopping Vit K therapy to ensure it is safe to stop treatment. If anticoagulant is still within the body times will still be increased. Warfarin may cause haemorrhage for up to one week. Brodifacoums may cause haemorrhage for at least 2 weeks.

General information about when this test is indicated:

Where there is suspected ingestion of rat baits containing these compounds. Where there is unexplained haemorrhage.

Comparison with other related tests:

Liver, urine and EDTA blood may also be screened at a referral laboratory for the presence of the toxic compounds.