Wild dog control methods 1080 Sodium Fluoroacetate

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Wild dog control methods – 1080 – Sodium Fluoroacetate
In Queensland 1080 is used for the control of wild dogs, feral pigs, foxes and rabbits. The chemical name for 1080 is ‘Sodium Fluoroacetate’. Sodium fluoroacetate is a naturally occurring chemical found in a number of plant species including Acacia georginae (Georgina Gidgee) and members of the Gastrolobium and Oxylobium genera. Sodium fluoroacetate is a fluffy white material at room temperature, forms colourless solutions with water and is normally odourless
How to access 1080

1080 can only be supplied by accredited Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and Local Government Officers to land owners for the purpose of controlling declared pest animals and cannot be sold directly to the public. The use of 1080 is subject to strict regulatory control set down in the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulations 1996 which are administered by the Queensland Department of Health. Some conditions are:

  • All baits must be distributed only on the land described and must not be laid within two kilometres of any habitation (habitation includes any dwelling excluding the owner’s), or public amenity or within 5 kilometres of a town area. Unless authorised by Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries;

  • No baits are to be laid within 5 metres of a fenced property boundary;

  • At least three days’ notice of the intended laying of baits must be served by landholders on every resident and/or occupier of the land adjoining or having frontage to the holding, road or reserve whereon the poisoned baits are to be laid;

  • Warning signs will be supplied to the landholder and must be placed at all points of entry to the property and adjoining public thoroughfares. This must be done even if the adjoining property is carrying out 1080 baiting. Warning signs must be erected and left in place for a minimum of one month.

How toxic is the substance?

Dogs and foxes are highly susceptible to sodium fluoroacetate and the small amount required to target these species poses a minimal threat to non-target species. Feral pigs and rabbits are also susceptible, although higher doses are required. Table 1 contains a comparison of the susceptibility of different animals to sodium fluoroacetate.

Table 1: 1080 Sodium fluoroacetate toxicity (LD50 values)


mg/kg body weight

Relative resistance (dog =1)

























Tiger quoll















How does it work?

Acetate is an essential foodstuff to animals. It is the fluorine substitution of the acetate that makes fluoroacetate toxic. Fluoroacetate poisons animals by interfering with the citric acid cycle (also called the Krebs cycle). In mammals fluoroacetate poisoning can cause death in a number of ways. Generally carnivores (dogs, cats, foxes) exhibit central nervous system failure, herbivores (rabbits, cattle, sheep) exhibit heart or lung failure, and omnivores (pigs) demonstrate central nervous system, heart, or lung failure.

How can risks be minimised?

To minimize the impact on non-target species, bait materials are impregnated with concentrations of sodium fluoroacetate specific to the target species. The concentration used depends on:

The lethal dose rate required;

• Body weight;

• Amount of bait likely to be consumed.
The potential danger to non-target species is further minimized by:

• Using a specific bait type;

Free feeding;

• Estimating likely bait consumption;

• Placing bait appropriately (including burying or otherwise concealing it);

• Adding dye to carrot and grain;

Bait tying;

• Stipulating a minimum bait size;

• Using an appropriate strength of fluoroacetate.
What are the advantages of the substance?

The single greatest advantage of sodium fluoroacetate over other vertebrate poisons, is that it is much more target-selective. Dogs are highly susceptible to sodium fluoroacetate and therefore the lethal dose required for a dog is much smaller than the lethal dose required for many other animals (see Table 1 for a comparison). The target-specificity, combined with the fact that sodium fluoroacetate does not persist in the environment, makes for an effective toxin for vertebrate pest control.

What are the disadvantages of the substance?

The single greatest disadvantage of sodium fluoroacetate is that there is no known antidote for sodium fluoroacetate poisoning. If they eat a bait, working dogs and domestic dogs are equally as susceptible to fluoroacetate poisoning as wild dogs. The onset of symptoms of fluoroacetate poisoning can be delayed anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours depending on the species and the individual animal. This delay is due to the time is takes for the fluoroacetate to be absorbed and to disrupt the Krebs cycles. The best protection for working dogs is the use of muzzles and tying up when not working.

What is the fate of the substance in the environment?

Fluoroacetate is rapidly broken down into harmless compounds in natural soil and water systems.

Is it possible to recognise poisoned animals?

Key symptoms commonly used to assign 1080 poisoning as the cause of death in a dog is vomiting, convulsions, coma and death. Anecdotal evidence from overseas human poisoning cases suggests despite the distressing symptoms, there is little, if any, pain associated with 1080 poisoning.

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