Pindone - A Poison for Rabbit Control

Method of Use

Where rabbits are a problem it is sometimes necessary to use poison to reduce the population quickly. Compound 1080 is one of the most common poisons used for this purpose.

However in some areas it is not suitable to use Compound 1080 as a rabbit control method because of the danger to other animals, particularly domestic dogs and cats. In these areas a poison called pindone can be used.

Pindone is an anticoagulant poison, similar in action to some rat poisons. It acts by reducing the blood clotting abilities of the body. To achieve this a number of feeds over several days are needed.

The poison normally takes effect about six days after the first bait is taken, but may take up to 14 days.

Landholders who wish to lay their own bait must be instructed in the use of pindone, and must hold a Agricultural Spray Permit under the provisions of section 29 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1995. A Biosecurity Inspector may issue a permit to use pindone, for a prescribed fee. The permit may be issued for a period of up to five years.

Landholders are required to notify their neighbours and post signs when pindone baits are laid.

Pindone is a liquid, which is issued for field use as a 2.5 per cent concentration of active ingredient (a.i.) and mixed with bait by a Biosecurity Inspector to give a final concentration of 0.025 per cent (a.i.). The most common baits used are carrots and oats. Oats are not as effective in some circumstances, particularly when there is abundant green field available.

Commercially produced pindone products contain a green dye. Colouring of the bait reduces its attractiveness to birdlife.

Bait is placed in small heaps (approximately one handful each) in areas where rabbits are known to be feeding. At the first application, heaps of about half this size should be placed at three metre intervals around the feeding areas. Later feeds can be placed in relation to the amount of feeding activity found, that is, more heaps where rabbits are actively taking bait, none where the first feed was not taken.

Carrot bait (approximately 12mm cubes) should be checked and replaced every two days to ensure it remains attractive. Bait heaps should be replaced until the amount eaten drops significantly.

Symptoms of Poisoning

The symptoms of pindone poisoning are excess salivation, vomiting, bloody fluid in the mouth, blood in the faeces and a progressive general weakening.

It is extremely difficult for a dog to eat enough poisoned rabbits to take a toxic dose of pindone. However, a dog that eats the bait may be poisoned. A cat would need to eat most of a dead rabbit each day for several days to be poisoned.

In the event of a domestic animal showing symptoms of pindone poisoning, an antidote is available from most veterinarians. It consists of an injection of Vitamin K, (1 mg/kg liveweight) which counteracts the effects of pindone in the body by increasing the blood clotting abilities.

If a human is suspected of eating poisoned bait, contact healthdirect Poisons Information Service (Tel. 13 11 26) or a doctor.

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