Lead is one of those substances that can cause serious health conditions in pets if they ingest it. Anemia, weakness, neurological disorders, behavioral changes, gastrointestinal disease, and anorexia are some serious consequences of lead poisoning. Vets from Virginia Beach veterinary hospitalsuggest that quick diagnosis and treatment can help a pet recover from lead poisoning.

In this blog, we will discuss essential aspects of lead poisoning in pets.

Lead is a metal which was widely used in various household items back in 19th and 20th century. This toxic substance was one of the prime ingredients in paints. Pets like dogs and cats are at higher risk of getting lead poisoning if exposed to it. Puppies and young pets love investigating new objects by licking or biting on them. This makes them more vulnerable to lead poisoning and foreign body ingestion. Pets can come in contact with lead through painted walls. Lead was popularly used in house paints in the olden days. Now, leads can be found in golf balls, fishing sinkers, toys, and other equipment.

What are the signs of lead poisoning?

Decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning. Depending on the level of lead exposure, some signs may be acute or develop slowly over time. Neurological symptoms of lead poisoning may include ataxia, tremors, behavioral changes, and seizures.

Causes of Lead Poisoning

In dogs and other pets, lead ingestion can happen through chewing or licking lead items. Old homes and establishments still have lead paints on their walls. Dogs that tend to romp around such places can ingest lead. When ingested, the lead gets absorbed in the stomach. The acids present in the gastrointestinal tract modify the lead, which further gets absorbed by the body.

Diagnosing Lead Poisoning

If you suspect your dog has consumed something that contains lead, you should immediately contact your nearest veterinary hospital. Quick medical care and hospitalization is vital when dealing with lead ingestion and poisoning. During the initial check-up of your dog, it’s essential that you give the vets details regarding how your dog got exposed to lead, what item he ingested. If your home was recently renovated, you should mention this to your doctor. Such information will help them determine the cause of illness and analyze the extent of lead poisoning. Backed by this information, your vet will proceed with the physical examination. Since lead is a metal, its presence in the body can be tracked through x-ray. The vet may conduct blood tests and urine test to determine lead ingestion.

How is lead poisoning treated?

The treatment for lead poisoning will depend upon the amount of lead your dog has ingested and the signs they are displaying. In case your dog is experiencing seizures, the vet will work on stabilizing them. In case your dog is not displaying life-threatening signs, the vet may suggest removing the lead from the body through vomit or endoscopy.