Low Potassium Level in Dogs | Petlebi

Dog Health

It is necessary to make healthy choices in the nutrition of dogs, with a complete and balanced diet, it is possible to introduce the nutrients, proteins, vitamins and minerals that dogs need into their bodies. Disruption of mineral and/or vitamin balance can cause various symptoms and diseases. One of the minerals that is closely related to the health of dogs is potassium. The health problem characterized by a decrease in the level of potassium in the blood is called hypocalcemia in dogs. When hypocalcemia occurs in dogs, both cell functions are affected and the electrical communication mechanism in the body is damaged. In this article, you can find information about low potassium levels in dogs and the symptoms of low potassium in dogs.

Hypocalcemia in Dogs

In dogs, potassium is stored in cells. Maintaining the normal functions of cells is closely related to the ideal level of potassium in the blood. When the potassium level in the blood of dogs decreases, the concentration in the cells changes and this change prevents the electrical signals from being transmitted effectively. Damage to the electrical process inhibits the function of cells, tissues and ultimately organs. This condition, also known as hypocalcemia in dogs, does not always cause obvious symptoms, but it is a precautionary measure.

pug dog with legs spread parallel to the ground

Symptoms of Hypocalcemia in Dogs

The symptoms of low potassium in dogs and the severity of their symptoms can vary. Basically, three basic functions are more affected by low potassium in dogs:

Neurological functions: Electrical signals passing through the body govern conscious and unconscious muscle movements. Damage to the neurological system can prevent dogs from involuntary activities such as breathing and voluntary activities such as walking.

Cardiac functions: The functions of the heart are directly linked to neurological functions. Chronic abnormal rhythms caused by a lack of signal transmission in the heart can cause dogs to die.

Muscle functions: As a result of affecting the functions of skeletal muscles, the dogs’ mobility may decrease, they may be prevented from standing normally, and it may bring symptoms such as hesitation to move in dogs.

The extent to which these functions, which are vital for the body, are affected may vary depending on the degree of low potassium in the blood and the reason for its occurrence. Symptoms that can occur in dogs due to low potassium include weight loss, irregular heartbeat, loss of muscle mass, vomiting, restlessness, frequent thirst and increased urinary frequency, walking on the soles of the paws rather than on the paws, tilting the head towards the chest, and chronic constipation. There can be many different causes of constipation in dogs, you can read our content called Constipation in Dogs, Symptoms, Causes and Medicine, which we have prepared on this subject before.

Golden Retriever dog under veterinary control

What Causes Potassium Low in Dogs?

It is possible to mention various factors that can cause low potassium in dogs. Chronic kidney diseases, prolonged anorexia, diabetes, metabolic problems, chronic vomiting, antibiotic use, diarrhea, insufficient potassium intake, stress and urinary potassium loss may result in hypocalcemia in dogs.

Diagnosing Hypocalcemia in Dogs

When symptoms of low potassium in dogs are noticed, veterinary visits should be made. In this context, the detailed description of the symptoms experienced by dogs will be of guiding importance during the diagnosis of veterinarians. Veterinarians first perform a detailed physical examination. They may then order blood tests, a biochemistry profile, and a urinalysis. As a result of tests done in dogs with chronic kidney disease, blood urea and creatinine levels may be high. Insufficient urine concentration can be diagnosed in dogs with chronic kidney disease through urinalysis. In diabetic dogs, on the other hand, urinalysis can reveal the glucose ratio and the presence of ketone bodies in the urine. In addition to blood tests and urinalysis, an EKG may be required to evaluate heart function. Thus, information about the heart muscles and the electrical signaling mechanism in the heart can be obtained.

brown black dog lying on sofa

How to Treat Hypocalcemia in Dogs?

If low potassium is diagnosed in dogs, the main aim of treatment is to increase the potassium level in the blood to the ideal ratio. The treatment method to be applied may differ according to the degree of potassium deficiency in the dog and the cause of potassium deficiency. Intravenous potassium supplementation may be needed if the potassium in the blood is dramatically decreased. In rare cases, dogs may need to stay overnight in veterinary clinics. For mild to moderate deficiencies, dogs may need to take oral medication for a while. The drugs used can be reshaped by performing blood tests at regular intervals. Supplements containing potassium chloride are often used in the treatment of hypocalcemia in dogs, and it is important not to use phosphorus supplements concurrently when these supplements are used. The combined use of these two supplements may result in an instability of the magnesium ratio in the body.

After the treatment process has started, it is necessary to visit the veterinarian again to check the response of the dogs to the treatment. Generally, the controls take place every 1-2 weeks, in some cases it may be necessary to make the controls every 6-24 hours. Dogs will need to rest in a quiet and calm environment during the recovery period after treatment. In case of muscle weakness due to low potassium level, light exercises should be done to gradually restore the muscles to their former strength. When the decrease in potassium level is caused by different chronic diseases, the treatment processes of these diseases should also be carried out. It may be necessary to change the food in line with the diagnoses made in the dogs within the treatment. Veterinarians will advise and advise dog owners regarding new food options. By reviewing the range of dog foods here, you can help meet their complete and balanced nutritional needs.

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