Scientific Journal

Scientific Journal of the Hellenic Companion Animal Veterinary Society (HCAVS)


Zinc toxicosis related to metallic foreign body ingestion in a dog

Bourdekas P. DVM, Alphavet, Athens
Giannopoulos P. DVM, Dafne Koutropoulou Vet Clinic, Rio Patras
Pappa. A. DVM, MSc, Contemporary Veterinary Centre, Thessaloniki
Polidoro G. DVM, MSc, Contemporary Veterinary Centre, Thessaloniki
Κitkas G. DVM, MSc, PhD, Contemporary Veterinary Centre, Thessaloniki


Zinc poisoning in dogs is commonly associated with ingestion of metallic foreign bodies. The stomach’s acidic environment promotes the formation of salts, which accumulate in tissues (erythrocytes, liver, pancreas, etc.). Clinically, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, hemoglobinuria and pallor of the mucous membranes are detected. Possible complications include hemolytic anemia, acute kidney injury and pancreatitis. Measurement of zinc in serum confirms the diagnosis. Treatment includes removal of the foreign body, supportive therapy and chelating agents usage. Prognosis varies and is related to chronicity.

Clinical case

A 12-year-old male neutered West Highland White Terrier dog presented with a history of anorexia and vomiting. Clinically, dehydration, mucous membranes paleness and jaundice were detected. Laboratory findings were anemia, azotemia, hyperbilirubinemia and hypercholesterolemia. Radiographic examination revealed a radiopaque metallic gastric foreign body, partially eroded, coin-shaped, which was endoscopically removed. Measurement of serum zinc levels confirmed the diagnosis. Therapeutically, D-penicillamine was used, alongside intensive supportive care.


On the third day of hospitalization, following serious complications, (acute renal failure, acute pancreatitis, ventricular tachycardia, multiple cardiorespiratory arrests) the patient died.


The presence of zinc in common household items imposes the immediate removal of metallic foreign bodies. Radiographic examination must be included in the investigation of jaundice. Cummings JE,


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