Zinc Poisoning in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Common Causes and Risk Factors of Zinc Poisoning In Cats

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Zinc is an essential mineral to our feline friends but can be toxic when consumed in excess. In this article, we talk about the consequences of zinc toxicity and how to manage it.

Zinc is a mineral that plays a vital role in various physiological processes in cats, such as metabolism, growth, and immune function. However, while essential in small amounts, excessive levels of zinc can be toxic to cats.

This article will delve deeper into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of zinc poisoning in cats and provide useful tips for cat owners to keep their furry friends safe from this potentially fatal condition.


Here are a few typical reasons why cats may become zinc poisoned:

  • Consumption of pennies produced after 1982: These coins have significant zinc content, and merely one penny can cause zinc poisoning in cats.

  • Swallowing metal objects: Cats may unintentionally swallow metal items, including bolts, nuts, screws, and jewelry, which can contain lethal amounts of zinc.

  • Zinc supplements: Giving cats food with a lot of zinc in it or taking too many zinc pills can be hazardous.

  • Inhalation or contact with zinc oxide: Inhalation or contact with zinc oxide creams, ointments, and sunscreens, can cause zinc absorption and poisoning in cats.

  • Exposure to galvanized materials: Cats that chew on or ingest galvanized materials, such as wire or fencing, can also develop zinc toxicity.

However, cat owners should be careful to keep their cats away from potential sources of zinc because even small amounts of the metal can be hazardous to cats.


Some typical signs of zinc toxicity in cats are listed below:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Appetite loss

  • Lethargy

  • Pale or yellow gums

  • Abdominal pain

  • Dehydration

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Jaundice

  • Red or brown urine

  • Anemia

  • Blood in the urine

  • Seizures

  • Coma


Here are some of the known diagnostic methods for zinc poisoning in cats:

  • Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of the cat, looking for any signs that show illness or injury.

  • Blood tests: Blood tests can help identify abnormalities in the cat's blood cells and liver and go further to check kidney function, which can be indicative of zinc poisoning.

  • X-rays: X-rays can help identify any metal objects in the cat's stomach or intestinal tract.

  • Urinalysis: Urinalysis can reveal any abnormalities in the cat's urine, such as the presence of red or brown urine, which can be indicative of zinc poisoning.

  • Zinc level measurement: Zinc levels in the cat's blood or urine can be measured to confirm the diagnosis of zinc poisoning.

  • History and symptoms: To help with the diagnosis, a thorough history of the cat's exposure to zinc and the symptoms displayed will be obtained.

Prompt veterinary care is crucial in diagnosing and treating zinc poisoning in cats, and pet owners should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they suspect their cat has been exposed to excessive zinc.

Treatment and Recovery

The following are some typical treatments for zinc toxicity in cats:

  • Removal of swallowed material: Endoscopy or surgery may be required to remove any metal objects that are found in the cat's stomach or intestines.

  • Stomach pumping: To get rid of as much zinc as possible after a cat has just consumed it, the stomach may be pumped.

  • Chelation therapy: Chelation therapy uses drugs that bind to zinc and aid in the body's removal of the metal.

  • Fluid therapy: Fluid therapy, such as intravenous fluids, can sustain the cat's organs throughout treatment and assist in alleviating dehydration.

  • Blood transfusion: In severe cases of zinc poisoning, blood transfusions may be necessary to replace damaged red blood cells.

  • Supportive care: Supportive care, including oxygen therapy and pain management, may be necessary to help the cat recover from zinc poisoning.

Prevention Tips

These are some precautionary measures you may take to protect your cat against zinc toxicosis:

  • Keep small objects out of reach: Keep your cat away from tiny metallic things like pennies, nuts, bolts, and screws.

  • Store zinc-containing items securely: Store supplements that contain zinc and zinc oxide ointments securely in a place that is inaccessible to your cat.

  • Take caution with galvanized items: Make sure your cat cannot gnaw or eat them.

  • Keep an eye out for excessive zinc levels in cat food: Keep an eye out for excessive zinc levels in the food that you give your cat.

  • Seek veterinary care immediately: If you suspect that your cat has ingested zinc or is showing any symptoms of zinc toxicosis, seek veterinary care immediately.

You may help avoid zinc toxicity in your cat by being watchful and adopting these preventative steps. You should keep in mind that even small levels of zinc can be hazardous to cats, so you should take any possible exposure carefully and seek veterinarian assistance right away if you need it.

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