Canine hypercalcemia is a condition that develops when there is too much calcium in your dog’s bloodstream. If the level of calcium isn’t reduced in a timely manner, then serious health problems can result. At the very least, your dog will very likely become dehydration which in itself can be deadly.
Many dogs who suffer from this condition do so because they have cancer, with canine lymphoma being one of the most common. Addison’s disease, kidney failure, and being exposed to too much vitamin D in plants, poisons, or topical ointments are other common causes. Your dog may also develop the condition if he ingests certain toxic house plants.
Hypercalcemia in dogs can cause a variety of non-specific symptoms. They include increased drinking and urination, loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, and dehydration. Many of these symptoms are caused by various other common dog diseases.
If you know anything about anatomy, then you will know that bones need calcium in order to retain their strength. Whenever the bones lose too much calcium which goes on to circulate in the bloodstream, then they will become very weak. Your dog can easily suffer fractures.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering substances from the bloodstream. With canine hypercalcemia, the kidneys will try to remove the excess calcium from the bloodstream, but may not be able to keep up which can cause them to become damaged. Deposits of calcium will then find homes in various areas of the body, and your dog will suffer inflammation and pain in these areas.
As you have already learned, the signs of hypercalcemia in dogs are non-specific. This means that your veterinarian will have to conduct multiple tests in order to make an accurate diagnosis. A blood sample will show how much calcium is concentrated in the blood. Anemia may be the cause of this though, so a complete blood count will need to be done. Urinalysis will show if there has been damage done to the kidneys.
Treatment for canine hypercalcemia will depend on the underlying cause. Since cancer is most often to blame, chemotherapy may be the best course of treatment. Medication can also be prescribed to help aid the kidneys in doing their job. If the level of calcium gets too high, your dog may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids.
Owners looking to prevent hypercalcemia in dogs should ensure that their pet has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Certain rat poisons can bring on the condition, so they shouldn’t be used around the household. Make sure that no plants in your home are toxic to canines too.