Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What is Sodium Deficiency?

Hyponatremia, a sodium deficiency, occurs when the body’s sodium level drops below a normal level, causing an excess of water in the body’s cells. This offset of the sodium to water balance causes the cells to swell, including brain cells. The additional water in these cells causes many of the symptoms associated with this condition. While this condition is fairly common, it can be life-threatening if not treated.

Sodium deficiency is when the body is lacking a normal concentration of sodium (around 140 mEq/L). Due to the swelling of brain cells from an excess of water, a sodium deficiency will likely result in neurological symptoms. There are a range of causes of sodium deficiency, spanning from diarrhea to heart failure. If your pet exhibits symptoms of sodium deficiency, you should visit a veterinarian, where urine and blood tests will be done to determine and treat the cause of the condition.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

Sodium Deficiency Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Sodium Deficiency in Dogs

Because the sodium deficiency leads to an increase of water in brain cells, a majority of the manifestations are neurological in nature, making it hard to narrow down without expertise. There are some noticeable symptoms that indicate a sodium deficiency:

  • Lack of energy
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Less alert
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lowered muscle strength
Types

The types of hyponatremia are differentiated by causes of the water-sodium imbalance. There are three specific types of causes, all leading to a greater water content than sodium content:

  • Euvolemic hyponatremia

    is a condition where the imbalance is caused by an increase in the overall water while the amount of sodium does not increase.

  • Hypervolemic hyponatremia

    is a condition where the imbalance is caused by a greater water increase than sodium increase. What is different about this condition is that both sodium and water increase, water just increases by a greater amount.

  • Hypovolemic hyponatremia

    is a condition where the imbalance is caused by a greater sodium decrease than a water decrease. Much like hypervolemic hyponatremia, both experience a change. The difference is that both decrease, and sodium decreases by a greater value.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Sodium Deficiency in Dogs

There are a few different causes that initiate either an increase in water retention or decrease in sodium content.

  • Significant burns on the body
  • Diarrhea
  • An increase of urine output, typically as a side effect of medication
  • Heart failure
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Pancreatitis
  • Abnormal glucose levels
  • Abnormal hormone creation
  • Renal failure
  • Fluid accumulation in abdomen
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Sodium Deficiency in Dogs

Because there are a number of differing causes of sodium deficiencies, diagnosis will require a complete physical examination, including a blood test and urine analysis. There are certain laboratory tests that can aid in the diagnosis of hyponatremia.

  • Metabolic panel

    : This is a group of blood tests that will provide insight into your pet’s metabolism and overall chemical status.

  • Osmolality blood test

    : Another blood test, this looks at concentrations of all chemical components found in the blood.

  • Osmolality urine test

    : Similarly to the osmolality blood test, this test uses a urine sample to measure the concentration of chemical particles in the urine.

  • Sodium urine test

    : The sodium urine test is helpful in determining sodium deficiency because it measures the amount of sodium in the urine. A concentration less than 140 mEq/L can be indicative of a sodium deficiency.

Once these laboratory tests are completed, the veterinarian will analyze the results and compare the concentrations of water and sodium to determine if hyponatremia is the cause of symptoms. These tests will also allow the veterinarian to rule out other possible conditions, or consider them if something else shows up.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Sodium Deficiency in Dogs

The first focus of treatment will to be identify the cause of sodium deficiency and treat that problem first. If treatment of the cause does not bring the sodium and water levels back to equilibrium, the next step is to look at treatment options that increase the amount of sodium present to bring things back into balance.

  • Patients with chronic hyponatremia are less likely to exhibit symptoms, probably because the body has had time to adjust to the condition. Treatment of these animals may actually be more dangerous than the condition itself. As a result, these patients are usually treated by restricting water and monitoring of the water to sodium concentration.
  • Alternatively, patients that do exhibit symptoms are treated by attempting to stabilize the sodium to water ratio. This can be done through crystalloid solutions, fluids through a vein, and medication.

Ultimately, treatment of sodium deficiency depends significantly on what condition is causing the imbalance.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Sodium Deficiency in Dogs

Post-treatment recovery and management depends largely on the underlying cause of the sodium deficiency. In regards to the deficiency itself, it will be necessary to have follow-up visits with your veterinarian in order to monitor the effectiveness of treatments.

The largest post-treatment focus will be on monitoring the overall water to sodium balance and ensuring that it is stabilizing with treatment. Instances where there is a quick onset of hyponatremia are significantly more dangerous than if it is a more chronic condition. It’s important, especially in quick onsets where symptoms are more likely to manifest, that monitoring of the sodium and water levels occurs. Being aware of your pet’s behavior and conscious of any of these effects post-treatment could save your pet’s life. It is possible, though, that in treating the underlying causes of the hyponatremia, the balance will be restored, and length monitoring of levels will not be required.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Sodium Deficiency Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Sodium Deficiency Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Ninja

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Urination
Increased Thirst

I have a black lab/german shepard that my wife and I rescued 9 years ago. We believe he is going to be 10 this year. Over the last couple weeks we noticed him drinking more water than usual and urinating for an extended period of time. Frequency is the same just the amount increased. I became concerned as he is getting older and my wife took him to our regular vet. She did some blood work (CBC and CMP) and it showed his Na was 130 and his Cl was 96, everything else within the normal range. She told my wife everything was fine. When I came home I saw the lab values and was concerned (ER nurse) because a low sodium in people can cause a ton of serious problems. I called the vet and she basically told me everything was fine and he was probably just a little dehydrated that day, if I wanted I could bring him in for more specific lab work checking his kidneys. I accepted this as this is her field and people and dogs are different. This was 2 days ago. Today my dog is still really thirsty and urinating more than normal. He has not had any change in diet, he isnt acting any differently as far as energy level, I haven't noticed any muscle weakness or spasms, his appetite is good, his stools are normal, and his mood has also been normal. Am I being a crazy parent? Thank you

Feb. 16, 2018

Ninja's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

5 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Those are subtle changes in electrolytes, and if the rest of his comprehensive lab work was normal, you may be able to worry a little less. Common causes for increased urination and drinking in older dogs include diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. If those parameters were normal, one thing that you may be able to do would be to recheck his labwork in 2 weeks, and see if his sodium and chloride levels have returned to normal, and if that one test was an aberration or was a true problem. I hope that all goes well with Ninja.

Feb. 17, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

baxter

dog-breed-icon

Min Pin

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Low Sodium

My dog (a diabetic min pin) has low sodium levels. Its been months he has numerous urine, blood, ultrasounds, all with no results. My vet one week ago, ordered a very expensive urine test and sent it out of state to test for low sodium levels, etc. Results came back that he has no sodium at all in his urine. He exhibits no symptoms at all. Can you explain this? The vet says in all aspects, he is in good health. Says my dog is "unique".

July 26, 2017

baxter's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

No sodium present in urine is not entirely unusual, especially in a dog with hyponatremia as sodium is reabsorbed by the kidneys in the loop of henle; sodium plays a big part in the excretion of urine. Normally hyponatremia is caused by inflammation, infection, pancreatitis, cancer etc… If your Veterinarian as otherwise given Baxter a clean bill of health, it is just a case of keeping a close eye on everything and ensuring that no new symptoms appear without adequate investigation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

My dog may have insipodous diabeties.bit i dont think so. Of defivent in sodium can i give him sodium in some form?jan2curtis@aol.com

Aug. 30, 2017

Janet

Was this experience helpful?

Sodium Deficiency Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install