Paintball Toxicity

Paintball ingredients themselves, are not toxic. However, they draw fluid away from the body and into the intestinal tract, which leads to dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and most concerning, a severe elevation in the blood sodium level. With high sodium levels, tearing of the vessels and bleeding in and around the brain, as well shrinkage of the brains cells can occur. This may present as depression, imbalance, unusual behavior, blindness, coma, seizures, and death.

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Paintball Toxicity

Paintball ingredients themselves, are not toxic. However, they draw fluid away from the body and into the intestinal tract, which leads to dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and most concerning, a severe elevation in the blood sodium level. With high sodium levels, tearing of the vessels and bleeding in and around the brain, as well shrinkage of the brains cells can occur. This may present as depression, imbalance, unusual behavior, blindness, coma, seizures, and death.

Alarming Fact About Paintball Toxicity

Just 5 to 10 paintballs can cause disease in a 60 pound dog. The exact “dose” that leads to toxicity is unknown, so all cases should be managed aggressively.
Clinical signs are often seen within an hour of ingestion. If there are no signs of disease, induction of vomiting is recommended. Warm water enemas are also used in an attempt to quicken the passage of the paintballs through the colon.
If ingestion is known to have been within the past 18 hours, quick correction of the sodium levels can be initiated with intravenous fluids. However, if it is thought that ingestion occurred over 18 hours ago, correction of the sodium needs to be performed slowly, to avoid edema and swelling of the brain. With either, frequent sodium measurements are needed (every 2 to 4 hours), to ensure appropriate treatment.
Anticonvulsants may be needed to control seizure activity, and antinausea medications for vomiting.
If your pet has ingested paintballs, even just one, contact your veterinarian immediately. Quick and appropriate care often leads to a good prognosis.

Comments (2)

  1. karen

    My son was a zombie at a Holloween venue which they used paintball guns to shoot at the boys. He ingested a couple of paintballs and is vomiting sick from them.
    My question is it harmful to humans compared to dogs?

  2. Laura

    We are a veterinary hospital and definitely can’t give information on humans… you should definitely contact a human hospital.

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