How excess vitamin D makes dogs sick

By February 21 | See Comments

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Vitamin D is a mineral extremely important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorous in a dog’s body, it also aids in the retention of calcium which promotes healthy bone growth and development. It must be surprising to hear that too much vitamin D can cause fatal effects in dogs, such as threatening levels of calcium known as Hypercalcemia, and threatening levels of phosphorous called hyperphosphatemia. There are several ways vitamin D poisoning can occur, but the most commonly reported is due to chemicals used to kill rodents. There is no safe age limit to vitamin D poisoning, all dogs can fall prey to this disease, though younger dogs or puppies are more prone to do so.

Common symptoms
There are several methods to diagnose vitamin D poisoning, some common symptoms are listed below:

  1. Loss of appetite.
  2. Dark feces containing blood.
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Excessive drooling.
  5. Loss of weight.
  6. Muscle tremors.
  7. Vomit containing blood.
  8. Increased urination.
  9. Increased thirst.
  10. Depression.
  11. Constipation.
  12. Seizures.
  13. Weakness.

The initial signs of vitamin D poisoning generally go by unnoticed, and sometimes it may take up to 2-3 days for serious signs to show up. Hence, being alert and cautious of these symptoms can be life-saving for your dog.

Diagnosing vitamin D poisoning

Once you suspect a vitamin D overdose and take your dog over to the vet, there will be a number of tests starting with blood work, specifically of the kidney function, urine concentrations and electrolytes. If there is no known history of vitamin D poisoning, the vet may also run additional tests to rule out other diseases such as cancer, bladder stones and hyperparathyroidism, as these can portray similar symptoms.

Treating an overdose

A vitamin D overdose can be fatal for dogs, an urgent and aggressive treatment is extremely necessary to save the life of your pooch. The treatment will include intensive care, round-the-clock, for a duration of 48 hours. The treatment further includes:

  • Decontamination. This includes induced vomiting, followed by giving several doses of charcoal to remove the poison from the intestines.
  • Gastrointestinal antacids that will aid in decreasing phosphorous.
  • Intensive IV fluids, which will help flush the excess calcium out of the body.
  • Medication to remove calcium from the body.
  • Medication to prevent hypercalcemia.

Observing kidney function and electrolytes is extremely necessary even after going home as the goal is to prevent acute kidney failure and hypercalcemia.
The treatment can be quite expensive, but it is a small price to pay for the life of your dog.
Staying alert and cautious for early signs is the best way to increase the chances of a healthy life for your beloved pooch.

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