We have all done it... we take our dogs to the dog park that has a lake.. or we take them to a lake or a river or a swimming pool.. throw a ball or stick or whatever and let our dogs just go crazy jumping in after that object.
What happens when they jump in for that? They open their mouths.. when they do that, insane amounts of water are ingested by the dog.. through their nose, theirs mouths, and sometimes down into their lungs.
Too much of this can cause water Hyponatremia or Water Toxicity in dogs. This can be fatal.
I just heard about this and I was so freaked out about this that I thought I would write about it so everyone knows what this is about and what to watch out for and how to prevent it. I personally have a Portie who loves to swim and catch balls thrown into the water but I certainly don't want him to get hurt by it.
So let's start... What is Hyponatremia or Water Toxicity?
Hyponatremia is the clinical term given to a condition in which a dog is suffering from low concentrations of serum sodium in the blood. As a component of the extracellular fluid (fluids outside of the cells), sodium is the most abundant positive charged atom in the body. For this reason, a condition of hyponatremia usually reflects a concurrent condition of hyposmolality, an underconcentration of osmotic solution in the blood serum; that is, a lack in the ability of body fluids to pass through the cellular membranes (osmosis), by which the body's chemical concentrations are kept in balance. Hyposmolality is typically associated with a decreased amount of sodium content throughout the body.
Theoretically, hyponatremia can be caused by either water retention or solute loss (loss of a dissolvable body substance -- in this case, salt/sodium is the solute). Most solute loss occurs in iso-osmotic solutions (e.g., vomit and diarrhea), and as a result, water retention in relation to solute is the underlying cause in almost all patients that are diagnosed with hyponatremia. In general, hyponatremia occurs only when there is a defect in the kidney's ability to excrete water.
What are the causes?
When water enters the body faster than it can be removed.