(from a horse magazine) We heard from a reader that her one year old dog started falling over and acting sick. She took him to the vet, and it turned out he had eaten four pennies and a quarter at some time in his short life. The vet could not get the coins to pass through the stomach, so he ended up doing surgery to remove them. U.S. pennies minted after 1982 have a copper coating around a zinc core, and contain roughly 2,440mg. of elemental zinc. One penny can cause zinc poisoning in animals. The vet explained that the smell of zinc seems to attract dogs. This particular dog had gotten on a dresser and picked out the coins containing zinc. The zinc was breaking down in the gut and causing zinc poisoning. The red blood cells were exploding. The dog was suffering from anemia and the vet gave him some compound to help with couteracting the zinc. The had to do a blood transfusion and the bill was above $2,000. Zinc posoning can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, weight loss, anemia, seizures, and kidney failure. It's amazing that a simple thing like a penny can be so harmful. Be sure to tell yourkids to keep those pennies off the floor where the dog can't eat them.