Objective: To report successful treatment of severe salt intoxication and hypernatremia in a dog.
Case summary: A 5-year-old intact female Doberman Pinscher was admitted to the intensive care unit with a history of seizures and coma. The owner had administered approximately 100 g of cooking salt to induce vomiting following ingestion of a nontoxic dose (10 g) of chocolate. Upon admission, the dog was comatose with intermittent seizures and vomiting. Diagnostic tests confirmed salt intoxication (Na: 200 mEq/L, Cl: 180 mEq/L) and metabolic acidosis (pH: 7.18; pCO2: 39 mmHg; HCO3: 14.3 mmol/L). Immediate treatment included intravenous fluid therapy, an anticonvulsant, antiemetic, diuretic, low molecular weight heparin, and supplemental oxygen. A fluid therapy protocol was initiated to decrease serum sodium concentration by approximately 2 mEq/L/hr. After 24 hours of intensive care, the patient regained consciousness and volume and acid-base abnormalities improved. The patient developed a variety of abnormal clinical signs as a result of the severe hypernatremia. After 5 days of treatment, the serum sodium concentration returned to the established reference range. The patient recovered completely in 10 days.
New information provided: Severe hypernatremia due to salt ingestion is a rare condition in dogs. All dogs in previous case reports of salt intoxication have died. This case report is the first to report survival of a dog with severe salt intoxication.