Dog Dies After Swallowing a Penny

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A Colorado woman's beloved dog died from zinc toxicity after swallowing a penny, according to CBS News.



Maryann Goldstein, owner of Sierra the West Highland White Terrier, says her dog had previous incidents of swallowing coins.

"She, for some reason, had some type of attraction to change," Goldstein said.

As a puppy, Sierra swallowed 32 cents in change and required surgery to remove it, but she was otherwise unharmed by that incident.

Sadly, Sierra was not so lucky last month. When the dog fell ill, Goldstein brought her to the veterinarian, whose X-rays revealed that Sierra had once again swallowed change, including one penny. Because pennies minted after 1982 contain zinc cores, the change turned out to be deadly.



Stomach acid does not take long to dissolve a penny's outer layer of copper, so the zinc inside was released into Sierra's system quickly.

According to Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a staff veterinarian at Petplan pet insurance, the zinc destroyed Sierra's red blood cells and caused irreparable damage to her liver and kidneys. By the time vets found the penny in Sierra's stomach, it was too late to save her.

"There was nothing I could do," Goldstein said. "She was just simply gone."

Goldstein now wears a cross around her neck that contains some of Sierra's ashes. She keeps the rest in a heart-shaped receptacle. "Everybody loved Sierra, and Sierra loved everybody," she said. "I used to call her my walking heart on four legs."

Symptoms of zinc toxicity in dogs include pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, red-colored urine or jaundice. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immedately.

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