09 Feb LEAD POISONING IN ANIMALS
Did you know that household paint used to contain significant quantities of the toxic heavy metal lead? Lead, in various salt forms, was incorporated into paint for pigment and durability purposes. In Australia, progressive changes to legislation have led to a rapid decline in the quantity of lead allowable in household paint from 50% prior to 1969, to 1% after 1969. In 1992, the maximum allowable lead concentration in household paints was further reduced to 0.25%, in 1997 to 0.1%, and finally in 2021 to 0.009%.
Whilst lead poisoning in animals is relatively uncommon these days, animals can still be poisoned from ingesting lead fishing sinkers, lead curtain weights, or by being exposed to paint dust or chips from older houses (particularly during renovations). The risk of poisoning is highly dependent on the product ingested, the amount ingested and the duration of exposure. Unfortunately lead is not readily broken down by the body and can be retained in bone stores for extended periods of time.
Signs of lead poisoning in animals can be non-specific, affecting a number of organ systems. Early signs may include vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence, abdominal tenderness and excessive salivation. Neurological effects such as weakness, tremors, unsteadiness on the feet and in severe cases seizures can occur. The red blood cells may also be affected, potentially resulting in anaemia.
If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and can be reached on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ).
The Animal Poisons Helpline is proudly sponsored by Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance, who are currently offering two months free pet insurance in the first year of coverage for Helpline followers. Visit bowwowinsurance.com.au/poisons for more info and enter promo code AP368 when you get a quote.