EDTA (Calcium Disodium)

EDTA, otherwise known as Edetate Calcium Disodium, is a chelating agent used by veterinarians to treat lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity in dogs, cats and other animal patients.

Signs and Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning 

Heavy metal poisoning will cause an animal to experience signs and symptoms that affect the neurological and gastrointestinal systems. Common neurological signs of toxicity include seizures, running around in circles or running aimlessly, blindness, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and changes in behavior. Typical gastrointestinal problems will normally include abdominal pain, vomiting, lack of appetite and either constipation or diarrhea.

What Causes Heavy Metal Toxicity?

An animal, especially a younger one, can get lead poisoning or toxic levels of heavy metals in the blood system through ingesting large amounts of metal-containing materials. Common sources of lead and other heavy metals include paint, plumbing materials, lead foil, golf balls, linoleum tiles and solder. Lead weights, newspaper dyes, certain inks and insulation are other products that contain trace-to-moderate amounts of heavy metals.

Dogs and cats can also become exposed to lead by drinking water from lead pipes or from a ceramic bowl that has been improperly glazed.

EDTA Precautions

EDTA should not be administered to allergic or hypersensitive animals. It should also be avoided in patients suffering from a pre-existing kidney condition. In some cases, a second administration of EDTA is required if the first course does not provide adequate results.

If the patient experiences vomiting or diarrhea while undergoing EDTA treatment, a zinc supplement may be incorporated because EDTA also chelates zinc in addition to lead and other heavy metals.

How Is EDTA Supplied and Administered?

Since lead and other heavy metals displace calcium in the body, many veterinarians will use EDTA (Calcium Disodium) as a chelation agent, as it not only aids in eliminating lead or heavy metals, but also increases calcium levels throughout the body. Blood lead concentration levels must be tested and then monitored throughout EDTA therapy until lead levels drop to normal.

EDTA (Calcium Disodium) is administered either subcutaneously or through an ophthalmic solution. The dose is typically given to the patient in a veterinary office or animal hospital setting where the blood monitoring can be performed. EDTA can be obtained via prescription through a veterinary compounding pharmacy.

Author: Giano Panzarella