Hypocalcemia in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Overcoming The Challenges Of Canine Hypocalcemia

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Dogs can suffer from hypocalcemia, often known as low blood calcium, which can have catastrophic consequences if left untreated.

Hypocalcemia, commonly known as low blood calcium, is a condition that affects dogs and can lead to serious health problems if not treated promptly. Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various physiological processes in the body, including nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood coagulation.

We will look at the causes, signs, and treatments of hypocalcemia in dogs in this article and give crucial information to assist pet owners in comprehending this illness and maintaining the health of their furry pets.

Causes of Canine Hypocalcemia

There are several causes of hypocalcemia in dogs, some of which include:

  • Nutritional Deficiencies: A diet lacking calcium or Vitamin D can lead to hypocalcemia. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium from food.

  • Endocrine Disorders: Hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, and other hormonal imbalances can cause dog calcium deficiency.

  • Kidney Disease: Hypocalcemia, a condition marked by low blood calcium levels, can result from chronic kidney failure.

  • Liver Disease: Low blood calcium levels can result from liver illness, which interferes with the body's capacity to utilize calcium.

  • Certain Drugs: Certain drugs can affect calcium metabolism, causing hypocalcemia.

  • Acute Pancreatitis: Acute pancreatitis can cause the release of enzymes that can lead to the breakdown of bone, which can cause calcium deficiency in dogs.

  • Trauma: Injuries and fractures can lead to the release of calcium from bones into the bloodstream, causing hypocalcemia.

Symptoms of Low Calcium In Nursing Dogs

Canine calcium deficiency symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. Some known signs of hypocalcemia include:

  • Muscle Tremors: Dogs with hypocalcemia may experience muscle tremors or twitching, especially in the limbs.

  • Seizures: Seizures can occur from low calcium levels affecting nerve function.

  • Weakness: If your dog has hypocalcemia, it may exhibit signs of weakness or lethargy.

  • Restlessness: Low blood calcium levels can cause restlessness and agitation.

  • Loss of Appetite: A lack of appetite can be a sign of hypocalcemia in dogs.

  • Vomiting: Dogs with hypocalcemia may experience vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Changes in Heart Rate: Hypocalcemia can cause changes in heart rate and heart rhythm.

  • Difficulty Breathing: In severe cases, low calcium in dogs can lead to breathing difficulties.

Not all dogs will exhibit all of these symptoms, and each dog will experience these symptoms differently in magnitude.


A physical exam, a review of the dog's medical history, and laboratory testing are all involved in the diagnosis of hypocalcemia in dogs.

  • Physical Examination: A veterinarian will examine the dog physically to check for any indications of tremors, weakness, or other hypocalcemia symptoms.

  • Medical History: The veterinarian will ask about the dog's diet, medications, and any recent illnesses or injuries, which can help determine the cause of hypocalcemia.

  • Laboratory Tests: A blood test to determine the dog's blood calcium levels is the most crucial procedure for determining whether the dog has hypocalcemia. Further laboratory tests may be carried out to assist in identifying and treating the underlying cause of the hypocalcemia, including a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis.

  • Imaging Tests: In some cases, the veterinarian may recommend additional tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, to help with prognosis and treat the underlying cause of hypocalcemia.

Treatment and Recovery

The underlying cause of hypocalcemia in dogs and the severity of the symptoms determine the course of treatment. Some of the most popular therapies for hypocalcemia include the following:

  • Dietary Changes: The veterinarian may suggest dietary changes or calcium or Vitamin D supplements if a calcium or vitamin D deficiency is the root cause of hypocalcemia.

  • Medications: If the cause of hypocalcemia is an endocrine disorder or medication-related, the veterinarian may prescribe medications to treat the underlying condition. For instance, in the case of an endocrine disorder, medications like THYROXINE and VETORYL can be used to treat and control hormonal imbalances in dogs.

In the case of liver or kidney diseases, URSODIOL and FUROSEMIDE may be prescribed respectively.

  • Intravenous Calcium: In severe cases, the veterinarian may administer calcium directly into the bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line to quickly raise the dog's blood calcium levels.

  • Surgery: Surgery can be necessary if the parathyroid gland or another medical disease is the root of the hypocalcemia.

In addition to these treatments, the veterinarian may also recommend a home remedy for low calcium in dogs, such as fluid therapy, to help manage the symptoms of hypocalcemia.


Preventing hypocalcemia in dogs can be challenging, as the underlying causes can vary. However, the following are some steps that can help reduce the risk of hypocalcemia in dogs:

  • Proper Diet: Feeding a balanced diet that contains adequate amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D can help prevent hypocalcemia.

  • Monitoring Medications: If your dog is taking medication, it's crucial to keep an eye out for any possible side effects, such as hypocalcemia, and to let the vet know if you have any worries.

  • Regular Check-Ups: Regular check-ups with the veterinarian can help detect hypocalcemia and other health problems early on, allowing for prompt treatment.

  • Avoiding Certain Foods: Certain human foods, such as chocolate and caffeine, can be toxic to dogs and should be avoided to prevent health problems, including hypocalcemia.

  • Monitoring for Symptoms: Observing symptoms of hypocalcemia, such as tremors in the muscles, weakness, or restlessness, and contacting a vet right away if they appear.

By taking these preventive measures and working closely with a veterinarian, you can help ensure the best health for your dog and reduce the risk of hypocalcemia in them.

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