Flint Michigan Water Crisis: Dogs Testing Positive For Lead Toxicity

A Labrador is held by a veterinarian.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

You’ve probably heard about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In an effort to save money during the town’s continued economic crisis, city officials switched the town water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which contains high levels of chloride ions. The citizens have been encouraged to boil their drinking water, but cases of lead poisoning keep coming in. And now, those cases include dogs.

A dog drinks water from a silver bowl.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Two dogs in Genessee County tested positive for lead toxicity according to the state veterinarian, Dr. James Averill. State officials aren’t releasing many other details such as how much lead they had in their systems or what their symptoms were. One was a stray, and the other was a pet. Both are still alive. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include malaise, arthritis, and mental dullness.

Dr. Averill warns that if pet owners see any out of the ordinary behavior or deviations from a normal schedule, that a vet should be consulted immediately. He’s also advised residents in the area affected by the crisis to give animals bottled water, or even melted snow if nothing else is available. Bathing in the tap water is fine, but it is not clean enough for consumption. Even though the city switched its water supply to the Detroit River since the catastrophe, it still contains unsafe levels of lead.

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