If your veterinarian found that your dog has high levels of sodium in the blood, you may be wondering what may be causing this. The medical term for higher than normal levels of sodium in a dog’s blood is hypernatremia. Sodium plays an important role in a dog’s life such as regulating blood pressure, blood volume, transmitting nerve signals and maintaining the body’s acid/base balance in check. While in normal levels sodium helps the dog’s body carry out important functions, when concentrations in the blood are too high, it can be indicative of problems. Veterinarian Dr. Joanne Fernandez -Lopez reveals what can cause high sodium in dog’s blood.
What Causes High Sodium in Dog’s Blood?
There is a great variety of causes for low sodium in a dogs’ circulatory system. Common causes are dehydration, decreased water intake, or even increase salt intake from high sodium diets or intravenous fluid therapy.
One very common cause is stomach and intestinal fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea.Other mild forms may occur from insensitive fluid losses like panting, high ambient temperature and even fever.
Another cause is from “third spacing” losses. What this really means is movement of fluid to other areas outside of the vessels or circulatory system. It can occur in cases of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas that can also cause vomiting and inappetance) and peritonitis (infection or inflammation of the inside of the abdominal cavity wall and organs).
There is also a condition were aldosterone (a hormone from the adrenal gland responsible to control blood pressure and sodium in the body) is elevated which can be from kidney disease.
Your veterinarian may take a blood pressure to confirm hypertension, blood tests to identify abnormal values in your pet kidneys, identify the elevation in the sodium and submit urine tests. Please, contact your regular veterinarian if you have further questions or concerns. Your veterinarian will provide further diagnostics and treatment recommendations according to how severe is your pet’s sodium levels and current symptoms.
About the author
Dr. Joanne Fernandez-Lopez is an emergency veterinarian on staff in the Emergency and Critical Care Department at Florida veterinary Referral Center (FVRC).
Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Joanne Fernandez-Lopez graduated from North Carolina State University – College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, NC. Prior to joining FVRC, Dr. Fernandez-Lopez worked in small animal general practice and as a relief doctor in South East Florida. Her professional interests include dermatology, surgery, internal medicine, preventive medicine, reptile medicine and practice management.
In her free time, Dr. Fernandez-Lopez enjoys relaxing at the beach, paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing. She has a small Tibetan spaniel mix named Carlitos.