Important Facts About Lead Poisoning In Cats That You Need To Know


Heavy metal poisoning is actually somewhat rare. Nonetheless, among the types of heavy metal poisoning, lead poisoning is more often than any other kind. Commonly, these are instances where a cat may have consumed minor amounts of lead over a period of time. When the cat was poisoned, it may display some symptoms, classified collectively under the condition known as plumbism. In this article, we will be discussing more about lead poisoning in cats –read on to learn more!

Lead Poisoning in Cats: What is this feline condition?

The cat might suffer from chronic or acute lead poisoning that depends on the quantity of the ingested lead in a particular period of time. Whether the cat is suffering from chronic or acute poisoning, it’s still harmful to the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, the poisoning might also result in the death of the cat, unless it is perceived and is treated right away.

Moreover, lead poisoning in cats happen when the cat suddenly experiences a high amount of lead in the blood because of the exposure in the air or via contact with some contaminated object.

Causes of Cat Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning in cats is due to inhaling lead or by ingesting lead-contaminated objects. Certain sources of lead poisoning in cats may include the following:

  • Contaminated water or food
  • Wine bottle foil
  • Lead in pipes
  • Pewter
  • Lead in gun shots and pellets
  • Lead in fishing weights
  • Plumbing supplies
  • Roofing supplies
  • Leaded gasoline
  • Car batteries
  • Linoleum
  • Renovation or construction debris
  • Pain chips or old paints

Symptoms of Cat Lead Poisoning

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in cats are often associated to problems with the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. A cat that is suffering from lead poisoning may show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Change in weight
  • Change in appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Prognosis of Cat Lead Poisoning

The signs of the lead poisoning in cats are associated to the issues with the nervous system or the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it is significant to let the vet rule out some other conditions in the cat. Furthermore, the vet may start by asking questions regarding the symptoms, medical history, as well as the possible lead poisoning. And then the next step will be –giving the cat a physical examination, in order to check the overall health and the symptoms.

Moreover, the vet may also need to give the cat a blood test, in order to measure the lead levels in the blood. Further, a CBC may be essential in checking for health conditions like anemia and abnormal red blood cells. Additionally, the cat might have to experience testing, in order to diagnose the lead poisoning, as well as check for some other health conditions.

In the event that the cat has swallowed an object that is contaminated with lead, it’ll show up in the GI tract on the x-ray results. The vet may order a biochemical profile, in order to check the kidneys’ health. He or she might also order a urine sample in checking for possible lead poisoning.

Moreover, it is also important to take the cat to the vet immediately when you noticed some symptoms of the poisoning. The vet may need to diagnose and treat the cat for poisoning, right before it starts to become deadly.

Treatment for Cat Lead Poisoning

It is important to treat the lead poisoning in cats as soon as possible, or else, it could become a life-threatening situation. Further, the treatment method for the condition may be contingent to the level of toxicity and might include the following:

  • Surgery- In case the cat has swallowed an object, which contains lead, the vet might need to perform surgical operation in removing it from the intestinal tract.
  • Gastric lavage- A gastric lavage is a process wherein the stomach is being pumped, in order to remove the lead from the intestinal tract. The vet might induce the vomiting or even give the cat an anemia, aside from pumping the stomach of the cat.
  • Fluid therapy- The fluid therapy is important in treating the dehydration because of lead poisoning in cats. This particular treatment plan may cause the lead to flow into the blood. This is for the cat to remove it all thru the urine.
  • Chelation therapy- the cat may undergo a chelation therapy for the removal of the lead via the urine. Furthermore, the chelating agents are given in a tablet or injection form. Further, the drugs may include ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and succimer.
  • Medication- The vet may administer some medications to the cat for the control of the symptoms. Further, the cat may be given an antiemetic medication to help in treating vomiting and nausea. Drugs like pentobarbital and diazepam may be given to the cat, in order to control the seizures.


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