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Low ratios of sodium to potassium in the serum of 238 dogs
  1. L. Nielsen, DVM, CertSAM1,
  2. R. Bell, MVB, DSAM, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS2,
  3. A. Zoia, DVM, CertSAM, MRCVS2,
  4. D. J. Mellor, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS3,
  5. R. Neiger, DrMedVet, PhD, DipACVIM, DipECVIM-CA4 and
  6. I. Ramsey, BVSc, PhD, DSAM, DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Science, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Dyrlaegevej 16, 1870 Frederiksburg C, Denmark
  2. 2 Division of Companion Animal Studies
  3. 3 Division of Animal Production and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH
  4. 4 Veterinärmedizinische Fakultät, Klinik für Kleintiere (Innere Medizin and Chirurgie), Frankfurterstrasse 126, 35392 Giessen, Germany


Serum sodium:potassium (Na:K) ratios are often reported in biochemical studies of dogs, although their value has not been assessed. The aims of this study were to identify diseases associated with a low Na:K ratio in dogs and to compare their prevalence with the prevalence in dogs from the same referral hospital with normal Na:K ratios. A total of 238 dogs with a Na:K ratio less than 27 were identified from medical records. Sample contamination with edta was suspected in 74 cases (31 per cent) and these and two cases that had been supplemented with potassium were removed from the analysis. The remaining 162 cases and 147 control dogs were divided into five categories depending on the organ system affected. Among the cases there were significantly more in the endocrine category than among the control dogs. Hypoadrenocorticism was the most single common cause of a low Na:K ratio and affected 27 (16·7 per cent) of the cases. Other clinical problems associated with low Na:K ratios included different urogenital, cardiorespiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.

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