Vet: Any pet can be poisoned by lead-laced water - WNEM TV 5

Vet: Any pet can be poisoned by lead-laced water

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Like a home security system, 2-year-old Duke sets off the alarm when he sees people he doesn't know.

TV5 first introduced you to Duke on Friday.

Adam and Christina Murphy said he's just now getting back to being himself after a major illness last fall.

In October, tests showed he had toxic levels of lead in his system and the Murphy's blame Flint's water system.

"What about the outcome of an animal? And who's responsible for this? Are we?" Adam Murphy said.

Adam Murphy said thousands of animals in the city were exposed and he said people need to know lead's harmful effects.

Dr. Hylon Heaton is a veterinarian at Genesee Veterinary Hospital. He said dogs, cats, fish, reptiles – any pet, can be poisoned by lead-laced water.

"It could be within any animal," Heaton said.

Even more terrifying, there are no clear indications an animal has the heavy metal in its body.

But there are red flags.

"If the animal is showing tremors or convulsions that's what we're going to see and we're going to test them for lead," Heaton said.         

Animals may also not eat as much, show signs of anxiety, and have abdominal pain.

Ultimately, the only way to determine if your pet has lead poisoning is through X-rays and blood tests. And like humans, pets, especially the young ones, may never flush the lead from their system.

Heaton is recommending avoiding the tap altogether.

"You use bottled water, just like you would to yourself, you use bottled water, and keep the exposure to the dog down," Heaton said.

The state veterinarian said two dogs have tested positive for lead poisoning in 2015-2016 after going years with no cases.

If you have concerns for your pet, take the pet to a licensed veterinarian, the state is covering the costs for the test.

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