Some dogs have a tendency to swallow some very strange things, including coins. Why? No one knows a dog’s mind or can determine exactly why they would choose to eat non-food items. Even so, dogs swallowing a coin is a very common problem.
Zinc Toxicity & Dogs
Coins can make a dog sick, or even cause death. The problem is zinc toxicity. Many coins, including pennies, contain this metal. When the zinc begins to break down in the body, they can lead to stomach upset and the absorption of the zinc. This can lead to poisoning, which causes red blood cells to be destroyed, leading to anemia, kidney damage, and even heart failure.
Symptoms of Zinc Poisoning in Dogs
If your canine companion has swallowed one or more coins, you may notice these symptoms:
- Urine retention
- Stomach pain
- Pale gums or tongue
- Poo that has an orange color
- Urine that is dark, brown or red
Your dog may also run a fever, experience joint pain, a cough, low blood pressure, seizures and more.
Diagnosis of Zinc Poisoning in Dogs
If you know for sure that your dog has eaten one or more coins, or you strongly suspect he may have swallowed coins, then get him to the vet immediately. The sooner he’s treated, the earlier the zinc can be removed from his system, and he’ll have a better chance of surviving.
When you get your dog to the vet, they will perform a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you’ve noticed. The vet may order an x-ray to see if there are coins in your dog’s digestive track. They will probably also order a blood test, a urinalysis, and over lab tests.
Treatment of Zinc Toxicity in Dogs
If the coin(s) are still in your dog’s stomach, the vet may decide to induce vomiting. However, if the coin(s) has been inside the stomach for longer, they may need to be removed by an endoscopic procedure or surgery.
In addition, your dog may need to receive oxygen and/or a blood transfusion, depending on his symptoms and their severity. In most cases, your dog will need to remain hospitalized at least over night for observation. The vet will want to make sure your canine companion is stable and has started to recover.
In most cases, if the dog receives prompt medical treatment, he should recover and go on to lead a long healthy life.