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Friday, June 28, 2013
Water Toxicity or Hyponatremia in Dogs = Water playtime can be deadly!
What happens when they jump in for that? They open their mouths.. when they do that, insane amounts of water are ingested by the dog.. through their nose, theirs mouths, and sometimes down into their lungs.
Too much of this can cause water Hyponatremia or Water Toxicity in dogs. This can be fatal.
I just heard about this and I was so freaked out about this that I thought I would write about it so everyone knows what this is about and what to watch out for and how to prevent it. I personally have a Yellow Lab who loves to swim and catch balls thrown into the water but I certainly don't want him to get hurt by it.
So let's start...
What is Hyponatremia or Water Toxicity?
Hyponatremia is the clinical term given to a condition in which a dog is suffering from low concentrations of serum sodium in the blood. As a component of the extracellular fluid (fluids outside of the cells), sodium is the most abundant positive charged atom in the body. For this reason, a condition of hyponatremia usually reflects a concurrent condition of hyposmolality, an underconcentration of osmotic solution in the blood serum; that is, a lack in the ability of body fluids to pass through the cellular membranes (osmosis), by which the body's chemical concentrations are kept in balance. Hyposmolality is typically associated with a decreased amount of sodium content throughout the body.
Theoretically, hyponatremia can be caused by either water retention or solute loss (loss of a dissolvable body substance -- in this case, salt/sodium is the solute). Most solute loss occurs in iso-osmotic solutions (e.g., vomit and diarrhea), and as a result, water retention in relation to solute is the underlying cause in almost all patients that are diagnosed with hyponatremia. In general, hyponatremia occurs only when there is a defect in the kidney's ability to excrete water.
What are the causes?
When water enters the body faster than it can be removed, bodily fluids are then diluted and a potentially dangerous shift in the electrolyte balance occurs. This shift causes cells to swell as a result of the changes in internal pressure, which can affect systems such as the central nervous system and the brain.
What are the symptoms?
Ataxia (staggering, falling over)
Dilated pupils, glazed eyed
How can we treat it?
Primary treatment will depend on the severity of the hyponatremia, and the associated neurological symptoms. The severity of any underlying disorders will guide treatment priorities as well. Treatment generally consists of addressing the underlying cause, and increasing the serum sodium concentration if necessary.
Overly rapid normalization of the hyponatremia can have potentially severe neurological results, and may be more detrimental than the hyponatremia itself. Therefore, an isotonic saline is the fluid of choice in the large majority of cases. More aggressive correction of the serum sodium concentration with hypertonic saline is rarely necessary. Hypervolemic patients (patients with too much fluid in the blood) are typically managed with diuretics (fluid reducers) and salt restriction.
Conversely, hypovolemic patients (patients with too little fluid in the blood) are managed by replacing the volume deficit with isotonic saline. Other therapeutic interventions are dictated by the underlying cause of the hyponatremia.
How can we prevent it?
When you play with your dog in the water..make sure you watch how much water your dog may be ingesting in constant play in the water... give your a dog break between playtime.. he needs time for his body to process any water he may have ingested. If you suspect your dog is experiencing water toxicity, you must contact your veterinarian immediately! Putting off treatment could be a matter of life and death for your dog!
I know it is summer and it is all about the fun.. but you are the pet parent and you must make sure that your pets are playing safely !