Home renovations a risky exercise for Fluffy

Fluffy is a 3 year old male, tabby cat who was adopted by the Gibson family as a kitten from our cat adoption program.

Last month, the Gibsons were worried about Fluffy because he was not eating and appeared lethargic. Dr Karen examined him and did a general blood test. There were no problems detected other than mild dehydration.

Fluffy, however did not improve, he remained lethargic and off his food. He came back to see us, but this time the Gibsons alerted us that they had been stripping and sanding away old paint in their house. Dr Craig then thought Fluffy may have ingested some of the old paint and consequently developed lead poisoning! He requested another blood test, this time to detect lead in Fluffy's blood.

Before receiving the blood test results, Fluffy became worse. He became very agitated to the point that he had a seizure and was brought back to the clinic. Fluffy was now having multiple fits so we had to anaesthetise him to settle him. Once he recovered from the anaesthetic he was kept sedated with valium. Fluffy was diagnosed with lead poisoning on the basis of his clinical signs. That night he went to the Animal Emergency Centre for overnight monitoring and care.

He returned to us the following day. He was admitted to hospital and treatment for lead poisoning was commenced. This included intravenous fluids and injections to help remove the lead from his system. Soon after we received confirmation from his blood test that he had severe lead poisoning

Happily, Fluffy made a full recovery in time to go home to the Gibson's home for Christmas.

What should you do to prevent this from happening to your pet?

Lead toxicity is caused by the ingestion of lead. Common sources of lead are include:

  • paint that has been stripped from older houses, lead based paints are no longer available.
  • fishing line sinkers

The clinical signs of lead poisoning are gastrointestinal signs such as not eating and vomiting, and neurological signs such as seizures and temporary blindness.

If you suspect, your pet has had access to lead or is showing any of the mentioned signs, contact your vet immediately.