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What is Vitamin D Poisoning?

Symptoms of Vitamin D poisoning typically appear 12 to 24 hours after initial ingestion, although they can appear as much as 72 hours after ingestion. In a dog with vitamin D poisoning, calcium, and phosphorous levels rise, affecting the kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. In extreme cases or if left untreated, dogs can experience acute renal failure, coma, and death.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble and regulates dog’s calcium and phosphorous levels, influencing nerve and muscle control. When consumed at excessive levels, Vitamin D poisoning causes an electrolyte abnormality known as hypercalcemia.

Vitamin D Poisoning Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,500

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blood in vomit
  • Loss of weight
  • Tarry feces that contains blood
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Causes of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

The most common cause of vitamin D poisoning is the accidental ingestion of certain chemicals used to kill rodents that contain cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3. Poisoning may also be a result of chronic dietary over-supplementation of vitamin D (a risk if you are supplementing vitamin D to treat your dog’s hypoparathyroidism), accidental ingestion of vitamin D tablets or chews. If you notice that your dog has consumed chemicals containing vitamin D it's important to schedule a veterinarian visit as soon as possible. Do not wait to take a "wait-and-see" approach with symptom onset.

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Diagnosis of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

As the symptoms of vitamin D poisoning overlap with many other conditions, it is important to disclose details about your dog’s diet, any supplements you have been adding, and if your dog may have been able to access rodenticides or another source of vitamin D recently. Being able to determine that vitamin D poisoning is causing your dog’s symptoms will aid in a swift recovery.

The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination, and conduct a complete blood count, which checks for abnormalities in red and white blood cell count. Additionally, a blood biochemistry profile will measure levels of calcium and phosphorous, elevated levels of which indicate vitamin D poisoning. The biochemistry profile may also show lower than normal levels of potassium and an accumulation of nitrogenous waste products, as well as low levels of albumin and high levels of certain liver enzymes. A urinalysis will be conducted to measure levels of proteins and glucose, which, if elevated, will help confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, an echocardiogram will measure your dog’s heartbeat, as some dogs suffering from vitamin D poisoning have slowed heartbeats.

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Treatment of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has recently ingested the substance at the time you seek treatment, the veterinarian will induce vomiting and administer a drug that binds to the vitamin D in order to prevent further absorption. However, if the substance has already been fully metabolized, the first goal of treatment will be to stabilize your dog if necessary, as in the case of a dog suffering seizures. Your dog will be placed on an IV in order to stay hydrated and balance electrolyte levels. Hydration helps to encourage the excretion of excess calcium through urine.

The veterinarian will monitor calcium and phosphorus levels frequently until they have stabilized enough to take your dog off of the IV. After this, the veterinarian will likely want to monitor your dog’s levels daily for several days to avoid renal failure. In some cases, aluminum hydroxide, or other phosphate binders will be given to lower the phosphate levels.

Other treatments include the administration of anti-seizure medication, antibiotics in the case of secondary bacterial infections that may occur as a result of vitamin D poisoning, and/or blood transfusion in the case of severe anemia.

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Recovery of Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

The prognosis for vitamin D poisoning depends upon if and when treatment is sought; however, if treatment occurs early, the prognosis is very good. Your day may require prolonged hospitalization and monitoring. Even after your dog is released to outpatient care, you may have to return to your veterinarian regularly in order to monitor progress. Your pet needs to be monitored for potential organ calcification, caused by the buildup of calcium in body tissues, which hardens and can disrupt bodily functions.

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Vitamin D Poisoning Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,500

Average Cost

$2,500

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Vitamin D Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Beagle

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

She's been hospitalized for 2 weeks vitamin D ingestion (I only found the chewed bottle so I have no idea how much she got) and her calcium level is still over 13.. She's a tri-pawd and the cath fell out at some point last night so she has fluids in her leg, pain and a fever came back. My vet said she needed to go to the ER vet to get a jugular cath. After the ER visit and the current vet I'm up to 5K in vet bills. Is she going to make it through this?

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, that is a very dangerous Toxin, and can cause kidney failure and death. Without knowing more about your dog, I cannot say whether she will make it, but I think you need to have an honest conversation with your veterinarian about prognosis. If she has a chance and you are able to continue treatment, that would be great, but if you are pursuing treatment and her prognosis is grave, it may be best to let her go. I am sorry for that decision if you have to make it, and I hope that she gets better.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I believe my puppy ate my daughter's pills What can I do or what can happen will she be ok? Omg

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Vit D3 is quite toxic in large quantities, and it would be best to have her seen at an ER right away. They will be able to induce vomiting if this just happened, or they can start treatment to prevent kidney failure if it has been a while since the event. I hope that she is okay.

July 18, 2020

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Lukkey

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Australian Shepherd

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Tired
Sleepiness, Not Mov

Hello I have a 5 month old Australian Shepard and I think she ate two capsules of vitamin D3 of 5000mg. She weights about 30 pounds. It i tried making her throw up the pills but nothing yet. This was about four hours ago. She seems to be fine other then her napping a lot should I be consernd with the amount she took??? Showed I take her to a vet ??

Aug. 31, 2018

Lukkey's Owner

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Izzy

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Shepherd

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

My 70 lb Shepherd mix got into a bottle of D3 1000IU vitamins. Unfortunately I have no idea how many she ingested, the max pills in the bottle was 100, but I don’t think there were that many in there. I think she ate them about 4-5 hours ago. She is normal, but acting skittish because she knows she did something wrong

July 25, 2018

Izzy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Vitamin D3 is quite toxic to dogs, and can cause kidney failure. It would be best to take Izzy to a veterinary clinic right away, and she may need to be on intensive IV fluids until they are able to make sure that her kidneys are okay.

July 25, 2018

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Chico

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Italian Greyhound

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11 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a 13lb Iggy Chihuahua mix who MAY have consumed a 5000IU softgel vitamin D (if he did - he busted it upon eating it). My husband dropped our vitamins on the floor and we immediately picked them up or so we thought. My pup came over "chewing" something and now I am not sure if it was a piece of dog food or a Vita D softgel. I gave a bit of diluted peroxide to try to induce vomiting but nothing yet. This all happened within the hour. Is there anything else I can or should do? What levels or how many pills would I need to worry about for toxicity? I am worried as my vet does not have a Dr. in Saturday and is closed Sunday with the nearest ER being over an hour away.

April 20, 2018

Chico's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

A 5,000IU vitamin D capsule is equivalent to 0.125mg which means that Chico consumed around 0.02mg/kg which thankfully isn’t a toxic dose; keep an eye on Chico, but visit a Veterinarian if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 21, 2018

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Angel

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Wolf husky

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9 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My wolf husky ingested 96000 units of vitamin D3 and I called our vet I cannot induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide this happened about 3-4 hours ago she's not showing any symptoms she's mad as hell because I'm giving her 3 tablespoons of peroxide and she will not vomit. My vet says they can't do anything else other than what I'm doing okay I read that vitamin D attached itself to fat so I just fed her a piece of chicken with over a half a cup of coconut oil do you think that will help.

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Baby Girl

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Dachshund

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6 Months

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Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dehydration
Excess Urination
Limpness

I believe that my dog had gotten into some vitamin D3 supplements, our vet here wont do anything and she just lays around unable to move but still eats and drinks. i don't know what t do or if there is a medicine that we can give her to help her get back to her old self

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Lilly

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Maltese

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Loose Stool Weight Loss

My 10 year old healthy maltese suddenly became very ill with vomiting and bloody stools in January. She had been eating Science Diet for her whole life. I took her to the Vets and she was admitted with IV fluids overnight and sent home. A few weeks ago it happened again and she has gone from 11 lbs to 9 since January. I did not know about the Hills recall and do not have any of the cans left to check the numbers. What should i do?

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Lani Love

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Lhasa Apso

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6 Years

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Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vomited Blood,
Vomited Blood, No Appetite Etc Died

My Lhasa Apso was prescribed Hills Science Prescription I/D canned dog food. She passed away at the end on October very unexpectantly. I have just learned that there was a recall of this canned dog due to elevated levels of Vitamin D. I read the symptoms and she did have most of them. Her blood levels were adversely affected as well. I can not describe how I have been feeling about her sudden death at age six (6) but now I am absolutely devastated and angry. How can I begin to file a lawsuit against Hills Science Diet? I realize it will unfortunately not bring "My Lani Love" back but the Company should be responsible for her death. Any advice please?

dog-name-icon

Reboot

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Siberian Husky

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1 Year

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I Havent Seen Any Symptoms So Far

My dog snatched a bottle of Vitamin D3 off of the counter. I just now found out that this can be toxic to dogs. I don' t know how many pills were in the bottle, but he consumed them. I don't know what to do.

Vitamin D Poisoning Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,500

Average Cost

$2,500