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What is Manganese Imbalance?

Manganese is a trace element that, along with vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, is a necessary nutrient for canine health. Dogs, especially puppies, need manganese to grow healthy bones and cartilage in the joints, as well as to produce enough energy to function. It’s part of many enzymes that metabolize carbs and protein, and is found in cereal grains and animal raw ingredients. 

Having too much or too little manganese, or if the manganese in the body doesn’t function normally, can cause problems with the female reproductive system and the skeleton. Evidence of an overdose is rarely seen, and deficiency is the most common problem with manganese. Dogs and puppies need about 5.0 milligrams per kilogram for optimal health.


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Symptoms of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

Manganese deficiency interferes with bone metabolism and health, as well as cartilage in joints.It can also affect the reproductive system. Symptoms of deficiency might include:

Symptoms of a manganese overdose include:


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Causes of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

Of an overdose or deficiency associated with manganese, deficiency is far more likely, particularly in dogs who are fed homemade or raw diets instead of supplemented commercial dog food. But an overdose is possible, particularly in dogs who accidentally ingest large amounts of supplements. Causes of a manganese imbalance include:

  • Insufficient manganese in commercial food
  • Incomplete diet, such as all-meat or meat-and-rice food
  • Ingestion of too much manganese
  • Enzymes that don’t use manganese effectively


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Diagnosis of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing bone deformities or lameness, your veterinarian may decide to pursue testing to check their manganese levels, along with calcium and phosphorus levels to see if any of these minerals are causing the problem. 

A physical examination might reveal shortened, deformed limbs, and an X-ray should show evidence of abnormal bone and cartilage. The veterinarian will want to know how long the dog has demonstrated the lameness, and any other symptoms the parents may have noticed. A history of stillbirth or early abortion in a female dog should be reported. The doctor will also want to know what the dog’s diet is like, whether it’s commercial, homemade, or raw. If it’s homemade or raw, be prepared to provide a list of the ingredients.

To diagnose a manganese deficiency or overdose, a Primary Trace Nutrient Panel is done, preferably on tissue samples taken from the liver or kidney. Breast milk or blood serum may also be used, but their results are sometimes inconclusive. The risks of obtaining a tissue biopsy for the test include infection and bleeding.


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Treatment of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

Treatment for a manganese deficiency in a dog consists of increasing the levels of manganese until the optimal level is achieved. To the extent that lame, shortened, or deformed legs and joints may be treated, surgery may be performed, medications may be prescribed to speed up bone metabolism, or physical therapy can be recommended. Adaptive equipment may be prescribed, such as carts and other supports. There are inherent risks associated with surgery, including infection and reactions to anesthetics. Blood clots, though rare, are sometimes associated with orthopedic surgery. 

For an overdose of manganese, the veterinarian may want to remove what the dog has ingested from the stomach. If the dog has been vomiting since they ate the supplement, this step may not be necessary. Your vet may administer intravenous solutions to combat dehydration and the toxic level of manganese in the blood and tissues, and to support the body’s organ systems. Because of the possibility of acute liver failure, an affected dog may need hospital supervision for at least a few days, if not longer. 


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Recovery of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

Recovery is dependent on whether a manganese overdose or deficiency was detected early enough, and if the treatment was initiated on time. Relapse of a deficiency may occur if the manganese in the diet isn’t maintained at a normal level, but can be fairly short if supplements or properly made food is provided. 

Your veterinarian will want to see your dog at least a couple of times after treatment to monitor the treatment’s efficacy. Legs that are shortened or deformed may be functionally improved over time with surgery and/or physical therapy. Reproductive issues caused by a manganese deficiency may resolve, allowing a female to deliver live puppies.

In the case of a rare overdose of manganese, once the dog is past the acute phase, a slow but steady improvement might occur. A dog with an overdose that affects the liver will be weak and vulnerable to other illnesses associated with the gastrointestinal tract. The prognosis for pups with liver disease is guarded.

A low protein, low sodium diet combined with medication may help to prevent another acute attack if the  liver failure has become chronic Follow up appointments are very important so the vet can keep track of progress and any signs of worsening disease.

Manganese problems in dogs can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog is at risk of developing a manganese imbalance, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Cost of Manganese Imbalance in Dogs

Average cost to treat manganese deficiency ranges from $100 - $2,500.

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Manganese Imbalance Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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