The data were compiled from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' (OMAFRA) toxicology laboratory records from January 1, 1990, to December 31, 1995. Submissions, each representing a single animal, were from veterinarians or wildlife officers (all wildlife districts) in Ontario. Submissions represented suspected metal toxicosis or imbalance in nutritional status on the grounds of a history of exposure, or the clinical signs or lesions. The animal groupings used were bovine, equine, canine, feline, avian, and "other" species. The "other" species were predominantly sheep, goats, and pigs. The metals requested during the study included lead, copper, selenium, zinc, mercury, iron, and arsenic. In many cases, requests for analysis included a combination of metals. Samples submitted for metal analysis were whole blood, serum, liver, or kidney.
Samples were analyzed quantitatively for copper, zinc, iron, and arsenic using atomic absorption (AA) flame spectrometry techniques. Lead was analyzed by graphite furnace, Mercury by AA vapor. Samples were classified as positive, if results were in the "toxic" range according to the reference values for this laboratory.