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Title: Mercury, pets' and hair: baseline survey of a priority environmental pollutant using a noninvasive matrix in man's best friend
Author: Sousa, Ana C. A.
De Sá Teixeira, Isa Sofia
Marques, Bruna
Vilhena, Hugo
Vieira, Lisete
Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.
Nogueira, António J. A.
Lillebø, Ana I.
Keywords: Blood
Non-invasive methods
Total Hg
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Abstract: Pet cats and dogs have been successfully used as indicators of environmental pollution by a great variety of chemicals, including metals. However, information on mercury (a well know priority environmental pollutant) concentrations in household pets tissues and/or organs is scarce. Thus, in the present work we quantified total mercury (Hg(Total)) in blood and hair samples from twenty-six household dogs. The obtained results disclose relatively low levels of total mercury in the surveyed dogs, with values ranging from 0.16 to 12.38 ng g(-1) in blood; and from 24.16 to 826.30 ng g(-1) in hair. Mercury concentrations were independent of gender, age and diet type. A highly significant positive correlation was established between total mercury in blood and hair, validating the latter as a surrogate, non-invasive matrix for mercury exposure evaluation. Additionally, the obtained blood to hair ratio (200) is similar to the one described for humans reinforcing the suitability of dogs as sentinels. Overall, the determination of total mercury levels in dogs' hair samples proved to be a good screening method for the estimation of mercury burden in this species. We propose the quantification of Hg(Total) in hair as a screening method for sentinels like household pets to be performed in routine veterinary visits.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s10646-013-1130-5
ISSN: 0963-9292
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