What is vitamin D poisoning?
Vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium, a mineral that is essential for healthy bones, muscle movement, nervous system function, and immune system function. Excessive amounts of Vitamin D may result in poisoning. There are two forms of vitamin D. Plants, fungi, and yeasts produce Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced by animals.
Poisoning commonly occurs when pets ingest rodenticides (rat and mouse poisons) containing cholecalciferol or supplements containing either form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) has a much wider margin of safety than vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and larger amounts are generally more tolerated by animals. Many topical psoriasis medications also contain potent amounts of vitamin D (i.e., calcipotriene, tacalcitol, or calcitriol) and poisoning can occur when pets lick the cream off someone’s skin or directly from the tube of product. Improperly formulated pet foods, both commercially produced and homemade, have also resulted in poisoning.
Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs
Your canine companion may not show any symptoms until about 12-24 hours after eating the vitamin D. However, he can have symptoms appear as long as 72 hours later.
Vitamin D poisoning causes a dog’s calcium and phosphorous levels to rise. This can cause issues with the kidney, heart, gastrointestinal system, or problems with the central nervous system. If left untreated, acute renal failure can develop, which leads to comma and death.
The supplement can also cause a condition called hypercalcemia, which causes an electrolyte abnormality.
Treatment of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has recently ingested the substance at the time you seek treatment, the veterinarian will induce vomiting and administer a drug that binds to the vitamin D in order to prevent further absorption. However, if the substance has already been fully metabolized, the first goal of treatment will be to stabilize your dog if necessary, as in the case of a dog suffering seizures. Your dog will be placed on an IV in order to stay hydrated and balance electrolyte levels. Hydration helps to encourage the excretion of excess calcium through urine.
The veterinarian will monitor calcium and phosphorus levels frequently until they have stabilized enough to take your dog off of the IV. After this, the veterinarian will likely want to monitor your dog’s levels daily for several days to avoid renal failure. In some cases, aluminum hydroxide, or other phosphate binders will be given to lower the phosphate levels.
Other treatments include the administration of anti-seizure medication, antibiotics in the case of secondary bacterial infections that may occur as a result of vitamin D poisoning, and/or blood transfusion in the case of severe anemia.
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Can one vitamin D pill hurt a dog?
What should I do if my dog ate a vitamin D pill?
How much vitamin D is toxic to a dog?
It can take as little as a dose of 0.1 mg/kg to cause vitamin D poisoning. That’s about 0.45 mg per 10 pounds of body weight. The fatal dose is around 2 mg/kg, which equals about 9 mg in a 10-pound dog.
Can vitamin D make dogs sick?