Dog has low phosphorus levels?
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  1. #1
    Senior Member dieterherzog's Avatar
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    Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    My dog's bloodwork came back today - and the vet says that he is in perfect health but his phosphorus levels are a little low. She doesn't think it's anything to be worried about and that she wants to get him tested again in a few months while taking some essential amino acids and a multivitamin. I read that it might be due to some sort of gastrointestinal disease or cancer

    I feed raw and often supplement meat only with eggshells. I don't feed chicken backs, wings or necks since I think it's too much bone for my 12lb dachshund. Can anyone offer an opinion on what might cause this? I trust my vet but it's also my first visit with her and I'd just like to hear if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks!

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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    I will post some info I found from our laboratory/ consult site. Hope it explains some things, especially interesting is the part on low phosphorus containing diets............................................. .................................................. .....Phosphorus, Hypophosphatemia

    BASICS


    DEFINITION
    Serum phosphorus concentration < 2.5 mg/dl

    Pathophysiology
    A low phosphorus concentration can be caused by shifts of phosphorus from the extracellular fluid into body cells, reduced intestinal absorption of phosphorus, or reduced renal phosphorus reabsorption. Because phosphorus is an important componant of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), low serum phosphorus concentration can cause ATP depletion and affect cells that are high energy users, including RBC, skeletal muscle cells, and brain cells.

    Systems Affected
    Hemic/lymphatic/immune--hemolysis
    Musculoskeletal--weakness and respiratory paralysis
    Nervous--seizures

    SIGNALMENT N/A

    SIGNS

    Historical Findings
    Consistent with the primary disease that is responsible for the hypophosphatemia rather than relating to the phosphate concentration itself

    Physical Examination Findings
    Pallor from hemolytic anemia (severe hypophosphatemia)
    Red or dark colored urine as a result of hemoglobinuria (severe hypophosphatemia)
    Tachypnea, dyspnea, and anxiety secondary to hypoxia
    Muscle weakness
    Mental depression
    Rapid, shallow respirations as a result of poor respiratory muscle function

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    CAUSES
    Laboratory error
    Mannitol administration

    Transcellular Shift (Maldistribution)
    Enteral nutrition and total parenteral nutrition
    Ketoacidotic diabetes mellitus
    Carbohydrate loading with insulin administration
    Respiratory alkalosis

    Reduced Intestinal Absorption of Phosphorus
    Phosphorus poor diet
    Vitamin D deficiency
    Phosphate binding agent
    Malabsorption syndrome

    Reduced Renal Phosphate Reabsorption
    Primary hyperparathyroidism
    Renal tubular defects (e.g., Fanconi's syndrome)
    Hyperadrenocorticism
    Proximal tubular diuretics (e.g., carbonic anhydrase inhibitors)
    Hypocalcemic tetany (eclampsia)
    Sodium bicarbonate administration

    RISK FACTORS
    Undiagnosed or poorly regulated diabetes mellitus
    Prolonged anorexia, starvation, or malnutrition

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    DIAGNOSIS


    DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS
    Severe hypophosphatemia (< 1.0 mg/dl) is seen most often as a complication of diabetic ketoacidosis. Monitor severely ill diabetics closely during the first few days of treatment for the development of hypophosphatemia.
    Patients with prolonged anorexia, starvation, or severe intestinal malabsorption may develop hypophosphatemia if given hyperalimentation, especially if the formulas used are marginal in phosphorus content.

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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    Those are some interesting findings nadinecvt, but it appears those are human related rather than dog... would that be accurate?

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    Senior Member dieterherzog's Avatar
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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    Thanks navidct, but like Dog_shrink said, are those for humans or dogs?

    However, I find it interesting that a cause for low phosphorus may be Vitamin D deficiency. We live in the Pacific NW and in an apartment, so the only time he ever gets to go outside is in the evenings and that means no sun!

    He doesn't seem to display any signs mentioned below and the vet thinks he might be a "normal outlier". Anyway, statistics aside - any more thoughts/suggestions especially from other raw feeders?

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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    Considering that your dog presented as being healthy with no symptoms and there were no other blood or urine abnormalities, I'd bet a dollar to a donut that the cause of the mildly reduced phosphorus levels is a lab error. But then again, I'm a prolific loser of bets. Heavy duty panting can cause what's called respiratory alkalosis which transiently and mildly drops the phosphorus levels but there would most likely be other temporary abnormalities in potassium, calcium, glucose, etc. Two of my dogs have cushing's and low phosphorus levels are not uncommon, I assume because excessive panting is a common symptom of the disease.

    There are other causes but honestly, if your dog had cushing's, cancer, gastrointestinal disease or any other underlying condition, you'd most likely be seeing clinical signs and you would certainly see more blood and urine abnormalities. For instance, if there were a parathyroid problem, calcium levels are either elevated or decreased and calcium levels are high with some types of cancers. Interpreting labwork is for a trained technician but us anal laypeople with special needs dogs are familiar with a thing or two.

    I am not well versed in canine nutrition; however, I'm thinking that if your vet wants to rerun the bloodwork after two months on some vitamins and supplements, she may think the mild abnormality could be diet related. Again, your vet is the absolute best source of information so if I were you, I'd simply ask her what factors she thinks could be responsible for the low phosphorus levels. I would stress this even more if you are worrying yourself sick because you think your dog has a terrible disease.

    I made the decision to switch my dogs to a raw food diet over a year ago but because I have a busy schedule and didn't know the first thing about proper canine nutrition, I chose to purchase a commercially prepared, balanced raw food diet. I was stunned and could not believe the physical and behavioral improvements that were noticable rather quickly. I did accomplish some research on the subject and do remember that a lack of vitamin A & D in a diet can effect phosphorus levels; however, I believe that if this were the case, your vet would have mentioned a calcium abnormality as well. Also, I found that raw food diets are higher in phosphorus than most kibble so I can't imagine that this is an issue but then again, someone with more knowledge would know.

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    Senior Member dieterherzog's Avatar
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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    lulusmom: Thank you so much for your response, that does make me feel better. She wants me to feed him more meaty bones like chicken necks that have a better Ca:Ph balance. I will try that out w/o changing anything else and get him tested again in a few months. I was so worried about elevated Ph. levels vs. low Ca values that the low Ph. values kinda shocked me! Thanks again for your help.

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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    You can also add a small amt of meat without bone or egg shell, as meat is higher in phosphorus.

    I was told by a repro specialist that often raw diets are low in vitamin D, so I do supp with that occasionally too.

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    Senior Member dieterherzog's Avatar
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    Re: Dog has low phosphorus levels?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedyreRottweilers View Post
    You can also add a small amt of meat without bone or egg shell, as meat is higher in phosphorus.

    I was told by a repro specialist that often raw diets are low in vitamin D, so I do supp with that occasionally too.
    She wants him to get on Hypothalamus PMG and a the Whole Body Multivitamin by Standard Process along with some melatonin for his pinnal alopecia. I guess she means that all these are related to the diet I'm feeding him which makes me a little nervous and sad. I think the multivit has Vitamin D supplementation too.

    I follow the prey model strictly - lots of meaty bones (beef back ribs, chicken thighs and quarters, a whole chicken cut up, lamb ribs...), 80% meat, 10% organs, 10% bone averaged out over the week. It's either my dog's a lemon or I'm just not doing something right.

    I guess this can be a lesson to other new raw feeders that you need to know what you're doing and that you really do need to get your dog's blood levels sampled from time to time.

    Thanks for everyone's responses, they were immensely helpful.

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