Farmer's cattle die after burnt out car in field causes lead poisoning
A farmer in Cork lost two cattle to lead poisoning after a car was burnt out in a field where they were grazing.
Other cattle in the grazing group continue to be monitored by Department of Agriculture staff due to possible exposure. The animals are also subject to movement restrictions to protect the food chain.
The second sudden death in the space of one week in a small group of weanlings prompted the submission of the second case to Cork Regional Veterinary Laboratory (RVL).
The animal was in good body condition and only extensive petechial haemorrhages in the cervical and thoracic thymus were observed.
Since this lesion may in some instances suggest lead poisoning, a thorough search of the animals stomach contents eventually revealed four tiny fragments of metal.
They were heated over a bunsen flame and melted very quickly indicating a low melting point and the possibility of lead.
Further information also revealed that a car was burnt out in the field, though it was removed from it three weeks before moving the weanlings onto the field.
Subsequent testing confirmed that the kidney and liver lead concentrations were indicated high exposure to lead.