In animal bodies, including our canine companions’, iron is the most abundant trace mineral essential for proper bodily functions. However, iron overdose leads to iron poisoning, putting your pup’s life at risk. Therefore, observe your pet to ensure they don’t ingest any iron-containing substances.
Read below to learn about iron toxicity and measures to prevent such a life-threatening ailment.
What is iron poisoning?
According to Nancy Bernard owner of 360 Dog Walker which is a leading dog walking company in California “Also known as iron toxicosis, iron poisoning occur when your pup consumes more than the standard iron limit. It occurs commonly in the canine species and proves fatal when left untreated because excessive elemental iron in your dog’s bloodstream weakens the tissue and organs.”
The usual limit of iron intake for dogs is less than 20 mg/kg of elemental iron. In contrast, consumption between 20 and 60 mg/kg of Fe causes mild poisoning with gastrointestinal (GI) problems. However, if your dog consumes more than 60 mg/kg of iron, it leads to severe iron toxicosis with GI hemorrhage, internal bleeding, and abdominal perforation. But death is inevitable in the case of 100 to 200 mg/kg consumption of iron by a dog.
Check the causes, symptoms, and treatment of iron toxicity to prepare for unwanted worst-case scenarios.
Causes of Iron Poisoning:
The possible sources of iron poisoning are usually iron-containing stuff within the home environment, such as:
- Heating pads
- Oxygen absorbers
Symptoms of Iron Toxicity:
Iron poisoning in dogs occurs in four separate stages. Each of them is categorized by different symptoms like:
Stage 1 (0-6 hours)
- Poor appetite
- Pain in abdomen
- Increased heart rate
Stage 2 (6-24 hours)
- The condition starts to improve
Stage 3 (12-96 hours)
- Weight loss
- Muscles tremors
- Diarrhea with blood
Stage 4 (2-6 weeks)
- Stool with blood
- Gastrointestinal obstruction
Diagnosis for Iron Poisoning:
Consult a vet promptly on witnessing the initial symptoms of iron poisoning. Give a comprehensive medical history of your dog to speed up the diagnosis. The veterinarian will conduct physical examinations and a blood test to measure the serum iron (SI) level and total iron-binding capacity (TBIC). Poisoning is medically confirmed when the SI level is greater than the TBIC. He may also do a urinalysis and x-rays to look for excessive iron in the intestinal tract.
What is the Treatment for Iron Toxicosis?
The initial step in treatment is removing excess iron from your dog’s system. For this purpose, the vet will use IV fluids, stomach pumping with saline solution, vomit induction, and oxygen therapy. These steps will wash away unabsorbed iron content.
Chelation therapy may work as well. It uses a drug that guides the additional iron through the kidney and removes it through the urine.
Aftercare for the Dog:
The dog’s diet must be given extra attention because of the damaged gastrointestinal tract and liver. Also, feed your dog its medications timely.
If symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, apathy, and weakness appear, consult your vet immediately.
To best preventive measure for iron poisoning is to keep iron-containing pills out of your pup’s reach. Also, do not give your pooch any supplement without a veterinarian’s advice.
We can conclude that the best way to avoid such fatal circumstances is to keep your dog’s activities in check and keep your medications out of their reach. However, if your dog encounters iron toxicosis, rush to the nearby vet without any delay to prevent mishaps.