Lead Toxicity is a very serious and potentially lethal concern for our pets. Chronic toxicity can occur with ingestion of low levels of lead over time, or acute toxicity can occur with ingestion of larger quantities of lead in short periods of time.
Lead toxicity typically will affect our pet's blood system, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, and kidneys. Signs can include: vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, lethargy, hysteria, seizures, and blindness. Toxicity usually occurs from ingestion of lead based paint (typically found in older houses) or ingestion of lead objects such as car batteries, linoleum, solder, plumbing materials, lubricating compounds, putty, tar paper, lead foil, golf balls, bullets, fishing sinkers, and improperly glazed ceramic food and water dishes.
According to the ASPCA, chronic toxicity can occur with the ingestion of 3-30mg/kg/day of lead. Lead paints found in old homes and the compounds mentioned above can be very concentrated in lead and toxic levels reached quickly. Recent news reports have raised concerns about lead paint used in children's toys and our pet's chew toys. However, data gathered by the ASPCA Poison Control Center shows that we have little to worry about with our pet's toys. Although lead can potentially be present in these toys, the amount is negligible and very unlikely to cause toxicity, even over a prolonged period. So let them chew! (Their toys that is!)
Lead toxicity can be treated very successfully if diagnosed properly. If a pet ingests a large volume of lead acutely, the first order of treatment is to get the lead out of the gastrointestinal system and keep it from being absorbed. Your veterinarian can do this with medications. For more chronic ingestion, continued treatment may be needed for 2-6 days to remove the lead from your pet's system. Treatment may also be supportive to control seizures, vomting, diarrhea, and pain. The earlier your veterinarian can start treatment the better, so if you have any suspicion of lead ingestion in your pet contract your veterinarian immediately.
Please contact Eagle Animal Hospital at 610-458-8797 or visit our website at www.eagleanimalvet.com/> with any questions. We serve the Chester county area including Chester Springs, Exton, Downingtown and Glenmoore. We would be happy to assist you.