Heavy metal poisoning in cats is quite rare; however, among types of heavy metal poisoning, toxicity due to lead is more frequent than any other kind. Usually, these are cases where a cat has consumed small amounts of lead over a long period of time. When poisoned, a cat may display various symptoms, collectively classified under the condition called plumbism.
A cat suffering from acute lead poisoning (or poisoning due to consuming large amounts of lead) will generally have abdominal pain and vomit. Lead poisoning can also affect a cat's nervous system, manifesting itself in various ways, including:
- Uncoordinated movements
- Episodes of hysteria and hyperexcitability
- General weakness, listlessness, and even blindness
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain tissue)
There are many lead-containing objects that can be found in your house or on the street which a cat may consume; among them:
- Fishing weights
- Plumbing materials (e.g., lead pipes, sealants, etc.)
To properly diagnose your cat, the veterinarian will need to conduct a thorough medical history of the animal. This will, hopefully, lead them to the source of the poison. The veterinarian will also examine the cat's blood to confirm lead as the type of heavy metal poison.