It is common for pets, especially dogs, to ingest coins. Among the circulating U.S. coins, only pennies pose a toxicity hazard. Pennies minted after 1982 contain a zinc core surrounded by copper plating. Each penny contains about 2,440 mg of elemental zinc1. Subacute or chronic zinc toxicosis can affect the renal, hepatic, gastrointestinal, and hematopoietic tissues.1-3 Zinc toxicosis can cause hemolytic anemia, which can lead to hemoglobinemia and hemogloburinia.1-3 Because of these severe effects, consider all penny ingestions potentially dangerous, and treat each case aggressively.
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