Lead poisoning in livestock

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Primefact Number: 413    Edition: Second edition    Released/reviewed: 01 Jun 2011

Poisoning by toxic chemicals can cause serious stock losses. Historically, lead and arsenic have been the most common causes of inorganic chemical poisoning in farm animals. It is many years since arsenic was used in sheep and cattle dips or as a herbicide, and arsenic poisoning of livestock is now uncommon. Lead is quite a different story as various sources of lead are present and in daily use on most farms.

Lead is a persistent chemical in the environment and in stock. It should be taken into account during any on-farm risk assessment for persistent chemicals. Remember that people, particularly children, can be at risk from lead poisoning as well as farm livestock and other domestic animals.

This Primefact includes information on:

  • Lead sources
  • Other risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Chemical residues
  • Preventing problems
  • Other poisoning risks