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Lead intoxication mimicking idiopathic epilepsy in a young dog

Liatis, Theophanes; Monti, Paola; Latre, Ariadna Ribas; Mantis, Panagiotis; Cherubini, Giunio Bruto


Theophanes Liatis

Paola Monti

Ariadna Ribas Latre

Panagiotis Mantis

Giunio Bruto Cherubini


An 11-month-old neutered female cocker spaniel was referred for two generalised tonic-clonic epileptic seizures with a one-week interval of mild depression. On admission, physical and neurological examinations were unremarkable. Neurolocalisation was forebrain. Haematology, biochemistry, serology for infectious diseases, urinalysis and urine culture were unremarkable. Cerebral MRI revealed T1-weighted hyperintensity in the lentiform nuclei. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis was unremarkable. Idiopathic epilepsy was mistakenly diagnosed and phenobarbital was started. A delayed blood film examination revealed metarubricytosis, polychromasia and basophilic stippling, raising the suspicion of lead intoxication. Abdominal radiography revealed a metallic lead foreign body (lead curtain weight), which removed endoscopically. Treatment with CaEDTA, thiamine and D-penicillamine was started. This report highlights the importance of including haematology, blood smear examination, biochemistry and urinalysis in the diagnostic workup of acute epileptic seizures particularly in young dogs. Lead intoxication should be included in the differential diagnosis in these patients, as modern lead sources still exist in our environment.


Liatis, T., Monti, P., Latre, A. R., Mantis, P., & Cherubini, G. B. (2019). Lead intoxication mimicking idiopathic epilepsy in a young dog. Vet Record Case Reports, 7(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 13, 2019
Publication Date 2019-03
Deposit Date Aug 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 25, 2023
Journal Veterinary Record Case Reports
Print ISSN 2052-6121
Electronic ISSN 2052-6121
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Keywords General Veterinary