Canine hyperkalemia symptoms

Written by jennifer banfield
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Canine hyperkalemia symptoms
Extreme hyperkalemia is serious health concern. (dog image by Krzysztof Gebarowski from

Hyperkalemia in dogs is caused by abnormally high blood levels of potassium. Because of the danger of potentially deadly irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia) and other complications of extreme hyperkalemia, it can be a serious health concern. Hyperkalemia in dogs is usually due to decreased renal excretion of potassium. Renal failure, urinary tract obstruction or rupture or hypoaldosteronism can lead to the decrease of potassium excretion.

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Vague or general symptoms mimicking many other medical issues can be seen in hyperkalemic dogs. A dog experiencing hyperkalemia may appear uncomfortable or seem uneasy.

Canine hyperkalemia symptoms
A dog may appear generally unwell or uneasy. (dog image by Michal Tudek from

Lethargy and Weakness

Muscle weakness and lethargy can also be linked to hyperkalemia. Look for instability while standing or difficulty rising.

Canine hyperkalemia symptoms
Hyperkalemic dogs are often lethargic. (sled dog,huskie,dog,sledding,dogsledding,tiger roa image by Earl Robbins from

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat is another indication. In most cases, the heart rate will be slower than normal.


Hyperventilation, usually caused by metabolic acidosis, is a symptom. This condition is predominately caused by low blood pH. When hyperventilating, the dog will breathe faster and/or deeper than is required.

A hyperventilating dog will breathe much harder than necessary.
A hyperventilating dog will breathe much harder than necessary. (sheepdog image by petar Ishmeriev from

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is also associated with hyperkalemia. Along with darkening of the skin and high blood sugar, this can be seen as a result of Addison's disease. Addison's disease is a disorder of the adrenal gland and is often an underlying cause of hyperkalemia.

Canine hyperkalemia symptoms
Abdominal pain is often associated with hyperkalemia. (dog image by Ergün Ã--zsoy from


Bradycardia is a disorder of the heart rate, causing it to beat too slow. Bradycardia is associated with severe hyperkalemia. Veterinary attention is required immediately. In some cases, sudden death can occur without any warning signs.

Canine hyperkalemia symptoms
Seek immediate veterinary care for bradycardia. (sleeping dog image by Lucid_Exposure from

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