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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.79 n.1 Pretoria  2008




Acute lead intoxication in a pregnant mare



K KrugerI; M N SaulezI; J A NeserII; K SolbergIII

IDepartment of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Equine Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa
IIDepartment of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa
IIIFinal Year Veterinary Science Student, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa




Lead (Pb) intoxication in horses is usually a chronic phenomenon with clinical signs associated with central nervous dysfunction. This report gives details of a case of acute Pb intoxication in a 9-year-old American Saddlebred mare with severe, progressive and ultimately fatal neurological deterioration. During the 4 days of hospitalisation, clinical signs progressed from intermittent headshaking and depression to severe, continuous, uncontrollable manic behaviour. At autopsy, three grey-coloured, hard metal particles were present in the gastrointestinal tract and subsequently found to contain 2614 ppm Pb. Lead concentrations in the brain, liver, stomach and kidney were 29, 4, 6 and 2 ppm wet weight, respectively.

Key words: cerebral dysfunction, equine, lead intoxication



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Received: October 2007
Accepted: February 2008



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