Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Pet Family

Lead Poisoning in Horses

Environmental Toxins

 

Most instances of lead poisoning in horses occur when they have grazed on pastures that have been contaminated with industrial waste, which is known to contain a great deal of lead and other chemicals. In some instances a large dose of lead all at once will cause acute toxicity, but small doses of lead over a longer period of time can cause chronic poisoning to the system. In either case, lead poisoning can cause many health problems for a horse, and can even lead to death if left untreated. As such, the prompt attention of a veterinarian is essential for a full recovery.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Impaired function of peripheral nerves
  • Weakness of the body and limbs
  • Unsteadiness on foot, collapse
  • Knuckling over of the fetlocks
  • Laryngeal nerve becomes damaged
  • Pharyngeal and laryngeal paralysis may occur
  • Respiratory problems
  • Respiratory distress
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Anemia
  • Rolling eyes
  • Temporary blindness
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Eventual death

 

Causes

 

The ingestion of lead may occur in large doses all at once, and may occur in small amounts over a period of days or weeks. The source of the lead is often the result of grazing on pastures that have been contaminated with industrial chemical waste, which often contains lead and/or arsenic and other chemicals, or from drinking water that has been contaminated by nearby dumping grounds.

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian can diagnose the presence of lead in your horse’s system. A simple blood test can detect the presence of lead in the body, and there are new developments made every day for the detection and treatment of lead toxicity. Lead poisoning is relatively rare in horses, so it is not usually the first source that your veterinarian will consider. This is why it is vitally important to give your veterinarian as complete a background as you can of your horse’s health history, the symptoms your horse has been exhibiting, and any information regarding the environment surrounding your land. This is the only way that a positive and accurate diagnosis can be reached and appropriate treatment be given to ensure a full recovery.

 

Comments  0

Leave Comment

Related Articles

Nightshade Poisoning in Horses
The nightshade plant, or Atropa Belladonna, is extremely poisonous to horses. Learn...
READ MORE
Laurel Poisoning in Horses
This Common Shrub is Highly Fatal to Horses   The laurel...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

PETMD POLL

When did your dog/cat last have a routine vet checkup?

Around the Web

MORE FROM PETMD.COM