Daily Archives: November 10, 2014

Lead poisoning in cattle continues to be toxic problem

By Dvm,Roy Lewis, http://www.manitobacooperator.ca/


Even with ever-increasing  education, lead poisoning is still the No. 1 toxic cause of death we see as veterinarians in cattle-producing areas, especially on calves.

Years ago, lead-based paints were commonly used and of course we had leaded gas, where a lot of that lead would end up in the used oil. These two sources have pretty much been eliminated. But the burning of old buildings will still concentrate the lead in the ashes, so proper disposal of the ashes and debris from the site is critical.

Acute lead poisoning is almost always the result of the accidental consumption of high concentrations of lead. The No. 1 source is consumption of the lead plates in broken-down vehicle batteries.

The lead pieces and fragments congregate in the reticulum (first stomach). From here the lead is absorbed into the bloodstream and causes the very dramatic symptoms we see as veterinarians: convulsive fits, head pressing, hyperactivity or manic behaviour and blindness (which has always been permanent in the cases I have treated) followed by death in most cases. Veterinarians must rule out other nervous causes of disease. In the case of batteries most times there is more than one animal involved and commonly it is younger ones, as they are inquisitive. Read more