Dogs may pick up poison orally, through the skin or airways. Poisoning may occur after the consumption of large quantities of lead or prolonged exposure to the substance.
The first signs of lead poisoning often occur shortly after consumption. Symptoms are mostly unspecific and vary widely. Some of the more obvious symptoms may include salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, dilated pupils, rapid breathing and cramping. In very severe cases blindness, coma and death can occur.
Poisoning is not a rare condition in pets. A wide variety of substances in or around the household may be toxic to dogs, such as plants, metals, chemicals, detergents, paints, pesticides, rodenticides and many more. Poisoning may occur by eating rat poison, mothballs, anti-freeze, anti-corrodants, objects containing lead, drugs, chocolate, etc.
Diagnosis is often difficult, especially if the animal was unobserved for a longer period of time. As symptoms of poisoning are mostly unspecific, detailed information by the owner on behalf of what substances were accessible to the dog is of great importance. Also, any medication your animal is taking or recent changes in diet also have to be considered. Stabilization of the patient with intravenous fluid and anti-shock drugs is the first and most important stage of treatment. If the source of the poisoning has been identified, attempts can be made to remove the substance from the body. If consumption occurred no longer then 1-2 hours ago, vomiting may be induced in order to remove the poison from the body. Otherwise washing of the stomach, the administration of activated charcoal that absorbs the poison, or laxatives used to expel it may be beneficial.
If you are suspecting your dog to have been poisoned consult a veterinary clinic immediately. If you are aware of the exactly which toxic substance your dog came in contact with or ingested, carry the package or container with you to the clinic. If the animal has been in the custody of someone else, this person should be available either personally or on the phone to help answer questions your vet may need answered in order to determine how to treat the poisoning.