Acute lead poisoning in a griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Israel

Igal H. Horowitz*, E. Yanco, R. V. Nadler, N. Anglister, S. Landau, R. Elias, A. Lublin, S. Perl, N. Edery, A. B. Rosenzweig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A free-ranging Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) found lying in a feeding station in the Golan Heights region of Israel was admitted to the Israeli Wildlife Hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel. The adult female vulture presented weak, cachectic, and standing on her tarsometatarsi. She had green diarrhea on her feathers and around her cloaca, a distended crop, and dropped head. X-ray images showed a circular radio-opaque object in the proventriculus and gastric lavage resulted in the regurgitation of a 9 mm lead bullet. The vulture was diagnosed with suspected lead toxicity, which was later confirmed with a blood lead level of 804.8 μg/dL. On day 7, a blood assay showed a lead level of 341.7 μg/dL, an overall marked decrease though still extremely toxic. Crop stasis and distension persisted despite chelation therapy and supportive care and the vulture died 7 days after hospital admission, prior to ingluviotomy. To the best knowledge of the authors, this is the most toxic case of lead poisoning discovered and published to date of a Griffon Vulture in the Palearctic Zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Crop stasis
  • Gastric lavage
  • Griffon vulture
  • Gyps fulvus
  • Lead toxicity


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