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Lead toxicity vs. Pets

By March 3, 2016 pet health

As our state tries to deal with the human health issues caused by high levels of lead in the Flint and other communities drinking water, veterinarians must become conscience about the effect this poison has on pets since they were also exposed.

This months newsletter from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine lists the signs of lead poisoning in pets. Though the article describes diagnostic procedures veterinarians should perform if they suspect a pet has been exposed, I believe some pet owners would be interested to know.

Attached you will find the article. Again, this information was provided by MSU.  If there are any questions please don’t hesitate to respond to this blog.

From the other side of the exam table,

Gloria Williams DVM

” Lead toxicosis in animals has been tied historically to the use of lad in gasoline and paint, lead batteries and other sources of environmental contaminants such as certain mining, smelting or recycling operation practices. Animals most often are exposed to lead through eating,drinking, or licking lead objects or objects containing lead such as lead fishing weights, lead shot, lead toy, and lead batteries. In Michigan, the typical lead toxicity case is cattle that have licked lead-batteries. More recently, concerns have arisen related to pets potentially exposed to lead through the drinking water in Flint.”

“Signs can vary by species, age, diet, physiological status (pregnancy, lactation) and duration and amount of exposure. Signs are typically associated with gastrointestinal (GI) and neurologic system and most commonly include:

Dogs- Vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anxiety, hysterical barking, blindness, convulsions and or aggression. Weight loss may be seen in chronic cases.

Cats – Anorexia, vomiting and or seizures

Diagnostics: Complete details on specimens required, collection protocol, shipping requirements and any necessary additional information, please visit MSU website. ( Blood tests are required)


Provide supportive care, prevent further lead exposure, use chelating agents such as CaEDTA, Succimer, and/or D-Penicillamine.”

(Treatment consist of hospitalization for pets for supportive care as mentioned above.)

Reference and for additional information:

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