Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
Follow Us
Kids fishing with dog

Lead in fishing sinkers and shot is toxic if ingested

Q: Yesterday, my Labrador Retriever, Barney, and I were out hiking by the river when he ate a fishing sinker, presumably because it smelled fishy. Do I need to do anything about this?

A: Yes. Many fishing sinkers are made of lead, which is toxic. If Barney ate one of those, his stomach acid will dissolve the lead, allowing it to be absorbed into his bloodstream and carried throughout his body.
 
Lead causes both gastrointestinal and neurologic problems, usually beginning 3-15 days after ingestion. Barney may lose his appetite, vomit, or develop abdominal pain or diarrhea. As the lead causes brain and nerve damage, you may see weakness, loss of coordination, blindness or seizures.

In addition, lead can damage red blood cells and hurt the kidneys. Fishing sinkers aren’t the only cause of lead poisoning. Research shows that lead bullets and shotgun pellets crack on impact, scattering lead debris and fragments throughout the game animal’s body.

Even when the shot exits the body or is removed, lead concentrations in the flesh can be toxic. Dogs are exposed when they find these animals and eat them. Other sources of lead include drapery weights, some toys, plumbing materials, solder and old lead paint.

Take Barney to his veterinarian, who will probably x-ray his abdomen to confirm the presence of the fishing sinker. If he hasn’t already passed it, your vet will advise you about what to do next.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.
 

Tags:

Q: My friend recommends...

What You Need To Know About Heartworm In Pets | Figo Pet Insurance

We all care about the health and...

Veterinarian Tips For Choosing Dog Food | Figo Pet Insurance

Q: What brand of food...

More From Figo Blog
Dog Breed Profile: Getting To Know The Beagle | Figo Pet Insurance

Playful. Energetic. Family friendly. Ears as...

Cats On Glass: Flipping Your Feline Perspective Upside Down | Figo Pet Insurance

Cats on glass objects like tables and shelves...

Five Ways Owning A Cat Is Good For You | Figo Pet Insurance

There are almost as many ways to describe cats...

Scarf’d: Mother Cluckin’ Good Chicken And Waffles For Pets

Mother’s Day is for the moms (fur, human,...

Cat with seal point coloring sitting on steps

It had been a fairly typical spring morning at...

Tips For Housebreaking Your Dalmatian | Figo Pet Insurance

Dalmatian puppies—known for being stars in the...

Therapy dogs and their impact on human health | Therapy dog visiting a sick man in the hospital

In a recent article, we discussed...

HELP