Blood Lead Toxicity Analysis of Multipurpose Canines and Military Working Dogs

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Reid P, George C, Byrd CM, Miller L, Lee SJ, Motsinger-Reif A, Breen M, Hayduk DW 18(1). 74 - 76 (Journal Article)

Special Operations Forces and their accompanying tactical multipurpose canines (MPCs) who are involved in repeated live-fire exercises and military operations have the potential for increased blood lead levels and toxicity due to aerosolized and environmental lead debris. Clinical lead-toxicity symptoms can mimic other medical disorders, rendering accurate diagnosis more challenging. The objective of this study was to examine baseline lead levels of MPCs exposed to indoor firing ranges compared with those of nontactical military working dogs (MWDs) with limited or no exposure to the same environment. In the second part of the study, results of a commercially available, human-blood lead testing system were compared with those of a benchtop inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis technique. Blood samples from 18 MPCs were tested during routine clinical blood draws, and six samples from a canine group with limited exposure to environmental lead (nontactical MWDs) were tested for comparison. There was a high correlation between results of the commercial blood-testing system compared with ICP-MS when blood lead levels were higher than 4.0µg/dL. Both testing methods recorded higher blood lead levels in the MPC blood samples than in those of the nontactical MWDs, although none of the MPC samples tested contained lead levels approaching those at which symptoms of lead toxicity have previously been reported in animals (i.e., 35µg/dL).

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