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Excess Chloride in the Blood in Dogs

Hyperchloremia in Dogs

The condition known as hyperchloremia refers to abnormally high levels of chloride (an electrolyte) in the blood. Electrolytes play important roles within the dog's body: helping in heart and nervous system functions, fluid balance, delivery of oxygen, and much more. For every electrolyte a very delicate chemical balance is required, and each electrolyte has a specific normal range in the body.

The electrolyte chloride, for example, is responsible in part for metabolism (turning food into energy), and keeping the body's acid base balanced. Chloride exists in body with sodium (Na) and their common source is sodium chloride (NaCl or table salt). Therefore, conditions responsible for altering the levels of sodium also affect chloride levels in the body. Elevated chloride levels are usually seen in dogts suffering from kidney diseases, diabetes, or bouts of diarrhea.

Hyperchloremia is seen in both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms of sodium elevation may also exist along with those of hyperchloremia, including:

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
  • Mental confusion
  • Coma
  • Seizures

Causes

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Over administration of fluids containing NaCl at hospitals
  • Lack of access of water for long period of time
  • High water loss through urine (often seen in association with diabetes)
  • Oral ingestion of chloride (rare in dogs)

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will want a complete medical history of the dog from you and will conduct a complete physical examination, with routine laboratory tests: complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis.

 
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