What causes low electrolytes in dogs? What to Know

Causes of Electrolyte Disturbance in Dogs

Many different conditions can affect absorption, excretion, and cellular intake of phosphate.

Decreased intestinal absorption

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Phosphate binding drugs
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Intestinal inflammation (IBD)
  • Dietary deficiency
  • Phosphate excretion in the urine

  • Diabetes with or without ketoacidosis
  • Parathyroid gland disorders (Primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism)
  • Cancerous tumors that release parathyroid hormones
  • Adrenal gland disorders – Hyperadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease) and Hyperaldosteronism
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Corticosteroid use
  • Kidney defects (Fanconi’s syndrome is most common in Basenjis)
  • Hypercalcemia (due malignant tumors or renal failure)
  • Diuretic use
  • Excessive cellular intake

  • Insulin injections
  • Glucose injections
  • Respiratory alkalosis
  • Refeeding syndrome
  • Xylitol poisoning (sugar substitute)
  • Diagnosis of Electrolyte Disturbance in Dogs

    Electrolyte levels will be determined with a blood test. This will show the degree of hypophosphatemia, as well as abnormal levels of other electrolytes, especially calcium. The veterinarian will try to identify the underlying cause of the imbalance by testing for other conditions like diabetes and high parathyroid hormone levels. Concurrent symptoms, like vomiting or diarrhea, may help to determine the source of the problem. Other tests could focus on potential infections, autoimmune responses, kidney dysfunction or Cushing’s disease. X-rays or ultrasound could be necessary if a cancerous tumor is causing hormone imbalance, or to identify weak bones or fracture.

    The veterinarian will need to know your dog’s medical history including any prior or current medications, especially insulin, diuretics, or corticosteroids. Dietary deficiency is most common with homemade diets, so the vet may ask what type of food your pet normally eats. Any history of starvation or potential poisoning will also be relevant.

    What are the most commonly measured electrolytes?

    The electrolytes of greatest clinical importance are sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphorus, and calcium.

    Electrolytes are involved in most of the bodys daily functions. For example, electrolytes are required for proper nerve conduction, for heart and skeletal muscle contraction, for maintenance of proper hydration status, and for maintenance of proper blood pH.

    Signs of Dog Dehydration – SIMPLE FIXES!!

    Dehydration in dogs occurs when the body loses more fluid than it’s taking in. All mammals rely on water to keep their bodies functioning properly, and dogs are no exception. In fact, water is necessary to virtually every important body function, including lubricating joints, cushioning internal organs, aiding digestion, and regulating body temperature. When we think of nutrition, we generally think of food. But water is a critically necessary ingredient that allows the cells in your dog’s body to absorb nutrients.

    It is normal for a dog’s body to gain and lose water throughout the day. Panting, breathing, urinating, defecating, and evaporation through the paws all contribute to normal water loss, which your dog compensates for by eating and drinking.

    When a dog’s body gets to the point where normal fluid intake fails to make up for water loss, the blood flow and the volume of fluids is reduced, which reduces the delivery of oxygen to organs and tissue. Dehydration in dogs also results in a loss of electrolytes, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. These minerals have important functions in the body:

    In the most serious cases of canine dehydration, the severe shortage of fluids can even lead to kidney and other organ failure and to death.

    Lack of water intake can cause dehydration, which can occur if a dog doesn’t have proper access to water or won’t drink enough. Whether you’re at home or gone for part of the day, be sure to leave enough water so your dog will not run out.

    Acute attacks of vomiting and diarrhea, heat stroke, or illnesses and a fever may also cause a dog to become dehydrated. Puppies, senior dogs, nursing mothers, and toy dog breeds may have an increased risk of dehydration. Sometimes dehydration in dogs is a symptom of an underlying cause, including these diseases or conditions: kidney disease, diabetes, or some types of cancer.

    There are some dogs who just won’t drink much water unless they are encouraged to do so. Or they are exercising outside to the point where they are panting and therefore losing fluids.