Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Vitamin D Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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.
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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 have 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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Worried about the cost of Vitamin D Poisoning treatment?

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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 good. Your dog 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

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Izzy

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Shepherd

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8 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

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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0 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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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

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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1 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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Vitamin D Poisoning Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,500

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