Lead Ingestion Is Health Hazard for Cats

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the harms of ingestion for people and cats.

Posted: October 27 2007 2 a.m. EDT

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Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is observed Oct. 21-27, and in addition to posing a threat to children and families, lead ingestion also harms pets.

The primary source of lead exposure comes from deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust and lead-contaminated environmental soil, according the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pets that ingest lead may show symptoms of gastrointestinal disturbances, such as vomiting or diarrhea. Furthermore, lead poisoning can attack the central nervous system, resulting in seizures and abnormal behavior, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) officials said.

“The risk for lead toxicity is as real for pets as it is for humans,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of the ASPCA. “In fact, lead poisoning in pets can often be the first sign of dangerous levels of exposure in the household. Pet parents can take precautions to help prevent exposure to this extremely toxic substance, such as not allowing pets to chew on painted surfaces, keeping objects like fishing tackle in a secure container stored out of reach and checking for the presence of lead prior to beginning any old home renovation.”

Lead-based paint was banned in the United States in 1978.

Homeowners can call the National Lead Information Center at (800) 424-LEAD for information and to find a professional who will test for lead. Renters may also consult with their landlords regarding lead testing in residences that were built prior to 1978.

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Reader Comments

Vanda    Laramie, WY

10/29/2007 12:20:21 AM

Sometimes we forget that things that would affect our children or grandchildren can also affect our pets. Thanks for the reminder.

Sara    Atlanta, GA

10/28/2007 8:18:38 AM

I wonder how safe their toys are.

Angela    Hamburg, NY

10/28/2007 3:47:36 AM

This is so important to know. i had no idea that lead could hurt pets as well.

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