Facts About Lead Toxicity in Dogs, Prevention and Treatment
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Facts About Lead Toxicity in Dogs, Prevention and Treatment

Lead toxicity was more present prior to 1977 but there are still ways that a dog or cat can be affected. It is important to prevent the exposure of lead to your pets dogs or cats and know symptoms in order to treat your pets safely.

Lead toxicity is also known as plumbism and consists of paint chips, paint dust and lead paint, most often prior to 1977. Since then improvements have been made in the paints that you use to remodel your homes because of the lead toxicity that has affected children and pets alike. If you do have an older home with the possibility of lead paint, your dogs can be prone to the toxicity it carries. Other ways that lead could affect dogs are with such items as the lead weights used on fishing poles, lead shotgun pellets, weights in the draperies, auto batteries, plumbing and roofing supplies, construction materials such as putty, solder and caulking, leaded gasoline and so many other household items. There are numerous things around the home that, if ingested by your dog, can be a serious matter. Most often it is the young inquisitive dog that is affected as well as those living in poor conditions. Cats may be susceptible as well.

If you notice your dog nibbling on something with lead in it, you can get it the help it needs right away but most times pet parents cannot always witness what the inquisitive pup (or cat) is getting in to.  Knowing some of the following symptoms can help you to recognize when your pet needs medical attention or treatment:

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite and eating habits
  • Stress and extreme anxiety behavior
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Disoriented and lack of coordination
  • Blindness and/or deafness
  • Increased thirst with excessive urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle tremors

In order to get a diagnosis, you will need to give your doctor as much information as possible such as if you saw your dog consume something and what. If not, is there anything in the home that looks disturbed where your dog may have “investigated” or if, when and how you noticed a change in your dog’s behavior. If you noticed any of the above symptoms, which can signify any number of conditions or illnesses including lead toxicity, call your veterinarian immediately. A diagnosis needs to be made to determine a treatment plan. Tests may include a complete blood count, serum biochemistry, lead concentrations are tested in the blood or feces as well as x-rays are taken to determine any foreign objects in the chest or intestinal tract.

Treating lead toxicity is a combination of medications, removing the source of the lead from your dog and supportive care between the vet and the pet parents. The stomach may be pumped to remove lead from the body or if lead objects are in the body, they may need to be removed surgically. Medications are given to bind the lead toxins in the body so they can be easily excreted through the kidneys. Your dog may be given intravenous fluids to encourage the toxins to pass quickly as well as help in dehydration. Depending on the severity of the condition, where your dog is experiencing seizures, anticonvulsant drugs may be prescribed.

It is important to follow the medical therapy as prescribed by your veterinarian. You will need to monitor your dog while treating it at home. Note any behavior changes or if the condition worsens. The most crucial thing you can do for your dog is provide a safe home environment. Keep your dog away from older homes and garages that carry many things laced with toxins and lead. Any home with pets and children should be safe and danger-free to the best of your ability.



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Comments (1)

We must remember that our animals suffer the same or similar consequences as we humans when inhaling, absorbing and ingesting toxins of any nature and we take measure to insure their safety...voted