LEAD POISONING

 

Poisoning is not usually a major diagnostic consideration in dogs with seizures because in most cases seizures stop when the patient recovers from the poisoning.  However, with lead poisoning, exposure usually occurs slowly over a long period of time, with owners unaware of the exposure.

Since 1978, Federal regulations control the use of lead in paint and other products, however there can be enough old products in your dog's environment to constitute a very real hazard.  Lead paint is the most common source of lead poisoning in dogs, however lead can be found in copper water pipes with lead solder joints, linoleum, caulking material, drapery weights and golf balls.  It is also commonly believed that significant amounts of lead are present in soil and in various sources of dust that have accumulated from years of vehicle emissions from leaded gasoline.

Common signs include vomiting, poor appetite, diarrhea, lethargy and abnormal behavior such as hysteria.  Seizures are seen in about 40% of affected dogs and may be the only symptom.  A diagnosis of lead poisoning is made by measuring the lead content in the blood.

Several drugs are used to treat lead poisoning.  These drugs are chelators, and form water-soluble chelates with lead, which increases the excretion of lead in the urine.  Lead poisoning can be fatal, however treatment is usually successful.