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Excess Magnesium in the Blood in Dogs

Hypermagnesemia in Dogs

Magnesium is found mostly in bones and muscles, and is required for many smooth metabolic functions. However, abnormally high levels of magnesium in the blood can result in serious complications, like impaired nerve impulses and cardiac problems. This health issue is called hypermagnesemia.

Symptoms and Types

Hypermagnesemia leads to the progressive loss of respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, and muscle functions -- all of which can be fatal in the dog. Other symptoms associated with this issue include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Paralysis
  • Mental depression
  • Poor reflexes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma

Causes

  • Kidney failure
  • Poor intestinal motility
  • Constipation
  • Administration of high levels of magnesium
  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., hypoadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism)

Diagnosis

After recording a detailed history from you, the veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination. Routine laboratory tests include: a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests help determine the levels of magnesium in the blood, which will record more than normal in affected dogs. Abnormally high levels of calcium are also found in affected dogs. As hypermagnesemia mostly occurs in patients with kidney problems, urinalysis and other laboratory tests may reveal abnormalities related to an underlying disease. Additionally, your veterinarian will perform an electrocardiography (ECG), as characteristic ECG changes are seen in patients with hypermagnesemia.

 
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