Zinc Toxicity

Coins can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Many coins are made of copper plating around a core of potentially toxic zinc, which can cause kidney failure and damage red blood cells. Zinc poisoning in pets can occur with the ingestion of a single coin.

In one such case, a dog had been vomiting for 3 days and was suffering from anaemia and elevated kidney values. His owner had no idea that he’d eaten anything out of the ordinary, but x-rays revealed a metallic object in the stomach. The penny had corroded and was embedded in the dog’s stomach lining – surgery was the only way to remove it. Reports Jill A. Richardson, DVM, “He recovered slowly, but totally, about ten days later. And now the owner is very cautious about dropping pennies in the house!”

Although zinc toxicosis from pennies is seen more often in dogs, there have been cases involving cats and larger species of pet birds.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten any potentially toxic substance, you should call your vet immediately.