Diagnostic analysis of veterinary dried blood spots for toxic heavy metals exposure

Andreas F. Lehner*, Wilson Rumbeiha, Alan Shlosberg, Kirk Stuart, Margaret Johnson, Robert Domenech, Heiko Langner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Dried blood spots (DBS) on filter paper have been used in human medicine since the 1960s, predominantly for screening in-borne metabolic disorders and more recently, for toxicology. Despite its 50-year existence, this technology has not been adopted by veterinarians for routine diagnoses and research. We have validated a novel DBS analytical procedure for the routine measurement of toxic heavy metals using 50 μL of whole blood on a single DBS by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Targeted heavy metals are arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, selenium and thallium. The limits of quantitation (LOQ) on DBS are: arsenic 1.7 μg/L, cadmium 4.0 μg/L, mercury 13.7 μg/L, lead 13.3 μg/L, selenium 6.3 μg/L and thallium 1.5 μg/L. These LOQs suffice for routine diagnoses of heavy metal intoxication in domesticated and wildlife species as well as for basic, applied and epidemiological studies. The technique is ideal for population studies involving investigations of wildlife exposure to heavy metals and other environmental pollutants. The smallblood volume involved (50 μL) makes it feasible to study small animals (birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals) that were previously excluded, or difficult to study due tothe relatively large sample volumes required by current gold standard blood collection techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-422
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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