Dogs Have Tested Positive for Lead Toxicity in Flint

Illustration for article titled Dogs Have Tested Positive for Lead Toxicity in Flint

Two cross-breed dogs in the Flint, Michigan area have tested positive for lead toxicity, the Detroit Free Press reported. One is a pet and the other is a stray.


State veterinarian Dr. James Averill reportedly said that the test results had been confirmed in October 2015 and January 2016, but officials had decided to keep the information private. He declined to reveal the identity of the owners, but did say that the cases had come from Genesee County, a major location affected by the Flint water crisis.

The Free Press reports:

The state is in contact with area veterinarians, and the “vast majority” of tests for lead in dogs has been negative, Averill said. But people who notice their pets are acting unusual are encouraged to see their veterinarian.

If a veterinarian determines a dog may have lead toxicity, the lab testing is provided free of charge, he said. And the number of requests has been increasing. But Averill also said that symptoms can vary widely.


Averill also told owners to watch for changes in normal behavior.

“My dog, when I get up in the morning, the first thing he wants to do is get up and go to the bathroom,” he said. “[Pet owners] know their animals. And when they’re not their normal selves, tell them to seek veterinary care.”

In April 2014, Flint began taking water from the Flint River instead of the Detroit system in an attempt to save money. The decision exposed residents to untreated water poisoned by lead from old pipes. Lead toxicity is believed to cause irreversible developmental and behavioral issues in children. Last December, the city called the issue a “man-made disaster.”

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Unfortunate, but pretty far down the list of priorities, as tens of thousands of people still don’t have clean water, and there’s no short term or permanent solution in sight.