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My Dog Swallowed a Penny

We have a friend who recently lost one of their puppies to Zinc Toxicity from swallowing a penny.

All pennies minted after 1983 have a zinc core covered by copper.

If you even suspect your dog may have swallowed a penny, contact your vet immediately.

The acidic environment in the stomach, can cause the penny to break down rapidly. Once the penny starts to corrode the zinc is released into the bloodstream and causes anemia and liver damage.

Signs of zinc toxicity and anemia can include extreme tiredness, vomiting, bloody urine, decreased appetite, and seeming depressed. These signs signify the need to get your dog to the vet very quickly.

It could take a few hours to a couple days before signs of toxicity start to show up.

Once penny ingestion and zinc toxicity is determined the immediate treatment goals will include decreasing zinc absorption, correcting anemia, minimizing liver damage, and removing the penny.

Most likely the penny will be surgically removed although endoscopy may by possible if the penny is still sitting in the stomach. The time it could take to allow the penny to pass, if it even will, could cause irreparable damage to the liver or even death.

Pennies are just heavy enough that they tend to stay in the stomach even when the animal has been given medication to make him or her vomit.

Once the penny is removed the patient may need a blood transfusion to correct the anemia and will be given IV fluids to flush the liver to help the body get rid of the zinc.

Additionally, the dog may receive Pepcid for stomach upset and/or an anti-nausea medication to prevent vomiting.

Supportive care may be needed for additional days or weeks depending on the amount of toxicity and how the animal responds to treatment.

Other common objects or products that contain zinc include zinc supplements, diaper rash ointment, sunscreen containing zinc oxide, automobile fuses, wire, nuts, bolts and some nails. But the one most often overlooked is still the penny. More information about dogs swallowing pennies.

If you even suspect your dog may have swallowed a penny, contact your vet immediately.

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