Why Is My Dog Or Cat's Blood pH Abnormal ?













Ron Hines DVM PhD

To see what normal blood and urine values are, go here

For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests, go here

To see how tests are grouped, go here

The pH Of Your Pet's Blood = Acidity Level Of Your Pet's Blood

For a more thorough explanation of why your pet's blood pH reading could be low, see the causes of a high anion gap

Your dog and cat 's body has complex buffering systems (to keep acidity/alkalinity in a very narrow range) that rely on dissolved carbon dioxide, blood proteins, blood phosphates and its kidney’s ability to eliminate hydrogen ions to tightly regulate the pH of its body.

Things like your pet's body weight, WBC counts and blood chemistry values can vary a bit; but anything other than tiny variations in your pet’s blood pH are not compatible with life.

Your pet’s blood is normally slightly on the alkaline side (a pH just above 7). When problems arise, they generally occur when the pet’s blood pH wanders below that (=acidosis). Should it rise, the situation is called alkalosis.



Reasons Why Your Pets Blood Might Become Too Acidic (Acidosis, Low pH) :

The two most common causes of acidosis in pets are kidney failure (causing metabolic acidosis) and unregulated diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis).

Sustained diarrhea can also cause acidosis when too much base (high pH elements) is lost.

Failure of your pet’s circulatory system to keep its body well oxygenated (hypoxia, hypoperfusion) , as occurs in shock, septic shock, severe blood loss, heart and lung failure can also cause a drop in blood pH.

Extremely strenuous exercise or prolonged seizures (lactic acidosis) is another cause.

Blockage to the flow of urine (eg blocked cats with FUS, dogs with oxalate stone obstructions) also lowers blood pH.

Starvation or toxic compounds such as grain alcohol, methanol, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), aspirin or ibuprofen can also cause blood pH to go down.

Too rapid an administration of unbuffered IV salt solutions has also result in acidosis (low blood pH).

Reasons Why Your Pet’s Blood pH Might Be Too High (ie too basic, alkalosis) :

The most common cause is sustained vomiting.

Excessive doses of diuretics (eg furosemide, hydrochlorthiazide) can also cause alkalosis (high pH) as can
the high cortisol levels that occur in Cushing’s disease or in the overzealous use of corticosteroid medications.

Complementary Tests :

CBC/WBC and blood chemistry panel, anion gap