Zinc Poisoning Average Cost

From 322 quotes ranging from $200 - 5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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What is Zinc Poisoning ?

Zinc poisoning in cats, also commonly known as zinc toxicity, occurs when the acidic environment of the stomach breaks down excess sources of zinc and converts them into zinc salts. These zinc salts are absorbed through the small intestine, causing a variety of systematic problems. While zinc in small amounts is a nutrient that is vital to many processes in your cat, it is the excessively large amounts that result in damage and harmful side effects. 

Symptoms of Zinc Poisoning in Cats

The symptoms of zinc Poisoning in your cat will depend on the levels of excess zinc in the system. In the case of mild zinc poisoning, general sickness or lethargy may be the only indication of a problem. As the levels of zinc rise in your cat, the symptoms will increase in quantity and severity. These may include:

  • Disinterest in food
  • Severe lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes, skin or gums)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Kidney failure as condition progresses

Causes of Zinc Poisoning in Cats

Zinc poisoning typically occurs when your cat ingests metal or some plastic objects that contain high amounts of zinc. The acidic environment of the stomach breaks down the item and causes the release of zinc into your cat’s system. One of the most common sources of zinc poisoning comes from ingestion of pennies, which are mostly made up of zinc. Young cats are also more prone to zinc poisoning due to the tendency of younger kittens to ingest foreign objects. The types of objects your cat may ingest that contain large amounts of zinc may include:

  • Pennies made since 1983
  • Bolts, nuts or other metal fasteners from pet carriers
  • Certain children’s toys or figurines
  • Nails
  • Zinc lozenges (for humans)
  • Jewelry
  • Board game pieces
  • Certain lotions or creams containing high amounts of zinc

Diagnosis of Zinc Poisoning in Cats

A diagnosis of zinc Poisoning in your cat will begin with a thorough physical examination by your veterinarian. It will be important that you provide your vet a history of the progression of any symptoms, including timelines for escalation of severity of symptoms or appearance of new symptoms.

After the exam, your vet may order several laboratory tests. The first will be a complete blood profile, including a test for hemolytic anemia, which is a symptom of zinc poisoning. Your vet will also order a urinalysis to evaluate kidney function and to determine the presence of red blood cells in the urine. A blood test involves a simple blood draw using a basic needle method. A urinalysis may involve a urine collection while your cat is relieving themselves or, potentially, a needle withdrawal of urine directly from your cat’s bladder. 

Finally, your vet will order imaging in order to determine the presence of zinc-containing foreign objects in your cat’s stomach or digestive tract. This will be the definitive diagnosis of source of zinc poisoning. Your cat will need to be mildly sedated or anesthetized, depending on their level of anxiety, in order to obtain the best quality images possible.

Treatment of Zinc Poisoning in Cats

Treatment of Zinc Poisoning in your cat will involve several phases. The source of zinc contamination will need to be removed and then treatment can begin in order to rectify the effects of zinc poisoning in your cat.

Removal of Zinc Contamination

After imaging has identified the presence of the foreign object that is releasing Zinc into your cat’s system, your vet will recommend a course of treatment to remove the item. Various procedures to do this may include inducing vomiting, endoscopy (in which a tube is sent down your cat’s throat with a small claw device to grab and remove the object) or potentially, surgical intervention. For both endoscopy and surgery, your cat will need to be put under anesthesia. In the case of induced vomiting, your cat may need to be monitored for potential aspiration pneumonia. 

Countering the Effects of Zinc Poisoning

After the zinc-containing foreign object is removed from your cat’s system, your vet will take steps to lower zinc levels in the blood and urine and to also counter any existing effects of zinc toxicity. These treatments will include administering subcutaneous fluids and medicines that lower acidity in the stomach, which prevents absorption of zinc into the system.

Recovery of Zinc Poisoning in Cats

With timely treatment, including removal of the zinc-containing foreign object and reduction of zinc levels in the bloodstream, your cat’s prognosis for recovery is very good. Reduction of symptoms will begin immediately, and in all but the most severe cases, your cat will be able to return to a normal lifestyle almost immediately. Post-surgical care will be needed if the object was removed via this method. In cases of prolonged zinc exposure or delayed treatment, your cat may need kidney support for varying lengths of time.

Zinc Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Kavu
tabby
10 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

none

Medication Used

none

A few days ago my wife woke up to our young adult cat and noticed that he cat appears to be choking on something. It’s been a few days and we have been trying to figure out what she (our cat) got a hold of. My wife is concerned that she got old if a penny. We have not seen any symptoms but if she did eat a penny, how soon would we see Zinc Toxicity?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2961 Recommendations
Zinc poisoning from a penny may be fatal to smaller animals, anaemia is a big concern and you should check the gums to make sure they are a healthy colour; however if you suspect a penny has been consumed the only real way to check is to visit your Veterinarian for an x-ray to see if the penny is visible. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/zinc/

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