If you ever had a dog, you know that they love playing fetch, they love getting into water to retrieve a stick or a ball, and although this may be a very enjoyable activity, it can be very dangerous for your four-legged best friend.
This is what Jen Walsh and her family learned when they spent a day at a lake, as usual, their dog a two-year-old Schnauzer, Hanz, was with them. Jen would throw a stick or a ball into the water for Hanz to retrieve, and they would do this over and over, Hanz had a lot of energy and he loved swimming. Hanz would never get tired and he was full of energy!
But after around an hour and half, Jen realized there was something wrong with her dog as he didn´t shake off water when he returned from the lake and was worn out in a bad way.
They decided to rush him out to the vet, in the journey, he looked even worse, they had no idea what may have happened to him. Sadly it was too late and the vet couldn´t do anything to save Hanz´s life.
Hanz died from water intoxication also known as hyponatraemia and according to Healthypets.mercola.com, this occurs when more water enters the body than it can process. All that water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous change in electrolyte balance. The excess water depletes sodium levels in extracellular fluid (fluid outside of cells). Sodium maintains blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.
When the sodium concentration in extracellular fluid drops, the cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells – including those in the brain – to swell. The central nervous system can also be affected.
It’s important to remember that dogs can’t always determine when they need to stop drinking. This can occur when they’re playing in the ocean, a pool or drinking from a water hose.
The first symptoms of water intoxication can be weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite or nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of water intoxication can include:
- Excessive licking
- Loss of appetite
- Bloated stomach
- Widened pupils and a glazed look
- In severe cases, difficulty breath
Dogs can develop hyponatremia when they stay in a lake, pond or pool all day of you let them, if they lap or bite at the water all the time while playing and swimming they can swallow a lot of water unintentionally.
The condition has also been reported in dogs that over-hydrate during or after exercise, as well as those that enjoy playing with water from a garden hose or sprinklers.
It’s always important as an owner to keep an eye on your dog if they love playing in the water. Some dogs love to throw themselves into waves or completely submerge themselves, which puts them at added risk of taking in too much water.
What to do if it occurs
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from water intoxication, you should always contact a veterinarian directly.
The worst thing is that water intoxication progresses quickly, so if your pet has been playing in water and begins to exhibit any of the symptoms listed, do not hesitate and go to the vet.
“This will never happen to us again, but I wish we had been warned of the possibility. It would have saved Hanz’ life. He was the best dog EVER,” Jen wrote on her Facebook page.
The Walsh family are aiming to save more dogs and their owners from this terrible fate. They want to do this by spreading the story of Hanz.
Jen’s Facebook post has already been shared almost 88,000 times on Facebook – thereby spreading the message to all four corners of the world.
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