Lead Paint Poisoning In Cats

Lead Paint Poisoning In Cats

by Elisa Black-Taylor
(USA)

Lead paint poisoning in cats isn’t something we hear much about these days. With improvements made to the paint we use on the exterior and interior of our homes, it’s just not something we think of when starting a home improvement project. During the past fifty years, paint has become not only safer but nearly odorless.

Lead paint and lead toxicity are still a big concern for those cat owners (dog owners, this is also for you) who live in older houses. Whether its paint flaking caused by age or the paint is purposely scraped off a wall or old furniture before beginning a home improvement project, we all need to be aware of how lead poisoning occurs and the symptoms to watch for.

Cats as well as dogs are curious creatures who often get into trouble with chemicals. The most common cause of lead paint poisoning is through the dust left behind while a homeowner is removing the paint from a surface. The pet will be in the fallout of lead particles and later wash themselves, thus ingesting the dust through grooming.

Symptoms include lack of appetite, chomping of jaws, vomiting and diarrhea, muscle spasms and lack of coordination. In rare cases, a poisoned cat will have show signs of aggression or convulsions.

The most common symptom is vomiting. Sometimes there is blood in the vomit or there is quite a large amount to come out at one time. In either case a vet should be seen immediately.

Lead poisoning can lead to blindness. Your cat may be blind in one of both eyes and may run into objects, meow more than normal or become inactive.

One of the most frightening symptoms seen in advanced lead poisoning is seizures. These can range from minor twitching to life threatening and again an emergency vet visit is called for.

Cats, especially those living indoors, are in the most danger from lead paint poisoning. I would imagine this is due to cats being smaller than most dogs and lead tends to build up in the tissues and affects the gastrointestinal as well as nervous systems. Intense grooming isn’t solely to blame. Your cat may decide a piece of paint scraped off of a wall would make a perfect toy to bat around or chew on.

There are a number of different blood and urine tests your vet can perform to determine if your cat is suffering from lead poisoning. The only problem is that sometimes the first test doesn’t pinpoint lead as the toxin.

Inducing vomiting or chelation therapy are the main treatments. Your vet may prescribe thiamine or penicillamine as well as treatments to strengthen the immune system.

If your house was painted after 1960, there is little to worry about as far as lead paint on interior or exterior walls is concerned.

The following are also lead culprits, so don’t think you’re safe if you have a newer paint job.

* Car batteries that contain lead acid
* Roofing and plumbing supplies
* Linoleum Foil made of lead
* Metallic toys (check labels)
* Ceramic food bowls that were insufficiently glazed
* Solder Pewter
* Grease

Prevention is best to protect your pets from lead toxicity. Not only when painting your house, but when refinishing old furniture. This is one of my favorite hobbies. Unfortunately, people in the last century had a fondness for covering beautiful wood with as many layers of lead based paint as possible. Removing this paint from furniture should be done in a well ventilated area with no pets around to oversee the project. It’s simply too dangerous.

With as many out there who are into painting or refinishing projects, I feel this is a subject we may not think about as being hazardous to our cats. It’s a pleasant thought to imagine your cat lazily laying around watching you work. We just don’t think about how dangerous lead paint dust can be to a small pet.

Have any of the readers experienced this type of poisoning in a pet. Any advice or anything I’ve missed?

Elisa

Reference:

http://www.vetinfo.com/
http://www.ehow.com/

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Lead Paint Poisoning In Cats

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Jan 12, 2012
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Pitcher from Mexico NEW
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

Anonymous, your story of the unglazed pitcher from Mexico causing lead poisoning lends credibility to my theory that Beethoven’s lead poisoning was from a similar source. The article I read suggested it was because he liked to eat fish. If he ate a lot of fish, especially bottom feeders, he could have been poisoned if the fish were contaminated with lead. But in that case lots of people around him would also have been suffering from lead poisoning. It had to be something in his home, something just he was using, that he acquired in his adult life. He was fine as a child, the problems began in his twenties, I believe, and it was a slow, insidious process. He had a lot of illness, including stomach troubles, which preceded his deafness. That poor man. I wonder how his music, and therefore the historical development of art music which followed, would be different if you could hop in a time machine, arrive at Beethoven’s cluttered apartment at a time after he started to feel sick but before the ringing started in his ears, seek out the offending piece(s) of crockery, and throw it away. Amazing that changing such a tiny detail of a person’s life could change everything.


Jan 12, 2012
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lead pipes NEW
by: Elisa

We had to have underground lead pipes replaced in the early 1990s. Although no cats died, we had a gray tabby turn brown after switching from well water to city water when I moved back to mamas. After the pipes were replaced the cat was gray again in less than a year. It was strange.


Jan 11, 2012
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Lead ignorance is NOT bliss!! NEW
by: Anonymous

We found a store in Nogales Mexico that sold clay dishes, we bought a water pitcher/mug that also served as a lid, dear hubby loved the taste of the cooler water but within a few days he was disoriented, diarrhea & vomiting, I was very concerned & called his primary care dr @ the VA Hospital & asked if it could be lead poisoning because pitcher/mug were not glazed, but when I mentioned about the way the water tasted, right away I was told to destroy both pitcher/mug, turns out taste was from lead leaching into water, a very serious & potentially fatal problem. Lead poisoning is insidious & slow but painful.Humans & animals are affected seriously sometimes fatal results. This was in 1980.


Jan 11, 2012
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The 60’s NEW
by: Elisa

I found a box of sample tiles while clearing out mamas house. It said Genuine Asbestos Tile. So I grew up with that on the floor. I refinished a lot of her cabinets and the paint would curl up when the remover dissolved it. I don’t know if it was lead or no but it was put on in the 1950’s. I didn’t have indoor cats at the time, thank goodness. Wonder what we’re living with now that can kill us. Besides cheap plastic water bottles subjected to heat in our cars…


Jan 11, 2012
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Lead paint is brittle NEW
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

A cat won’t be playing with any lead paint that flakes off, because it doesn’t flake off in big pieces like modern paint. It’s very, very brittle. I know this because I spent my early teen years helping my parents strip white paint from the wood work of their home. Turns out it was all lead based paint. It comes off in pieces so tiny that it’s like a dust. As you scrape it off you breathe that in, you swallow it, it floats in the air all around you. None of us had any health problems from the lead based paint flying around our home for years, but none of us were infants. We also didn’t realize it was lead based paint. Well, my parents probably knew, but no one was talking about the dangers of lead based paint back then. Ignorance was bliss.

I think adult humans can tolerate the lead somewhat, but with infants or very young children it’s a real danger, as their bodies and brains are still developing. Our adult cat also showed no signs of illness during our renovations, but she was primarily an outdoor cat, so that probably helped to reduce her exposure. I think people shouldn’t panic too much, except when it comes to very young children. I’m positive kittens would also be at greater risk than older cats. I think ceramic dishes which are not glazed properly and cause lead poisoning are much more dangerous than lead paint on your woodwork.

I read that they have discovered Beethoven probably went deaf from lead poisoning. Quite a few years ago they exhumed his body and took hair samples. Analysis of the hair indicated lead levels 100 times higher than they should have been. My guess is he had a favorite pitcher, mug or dish that was seeping lead into his food. He suffered so much, and all it would have taken to save his hearing would have been to discard that item from his home. Ignorance, in this case, was not bliss.



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