Excess vitamin A in dogs | Hypervitaminosis A

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As its name indicates, hypervitaminosis is caused by an excessive amount of vitamins in the body, in this case, vitamin A. At present it is a very rare problem in dogs and almost no cases are usually detected.

The wide distribution of commercial foods specially formulated for them has made it difficult to find nutritional deficiencies. Let’s see the importance of vitamin A and what symptoms can lead to excess or deficiency.

Index of contents

  • 1 The functions of vitamin A in dogs
  • 2 Vitamin A included in the diet
  • 3 Vitamin A Excess Poisoning in Dogs
  • 4 Vitamin supplements for dogs
  • 5 Vitamin loss from food

The functions of vitamin A in dogs

Also known as retinol, it performs important functions. It is an antioxidant, eliminates free radicals and protects DNA from its mutagenic action. It contributes to stop cellular aging. It intervenes in the formation of bones, teeth, nails, blood, skin, membranes and tissues. It repairs tissues, protects mucosa and favors renal and reproductive activity.

It maintains the retina and functions such as adaptation to changes in light intensity. It participates in immune processes to avoid infections. It belongs to the group of fat-soluble vitamins, along with D, E or K. They can be stored in the body and in the liver, making it more difficult to eliminate them in the urine if there is an excess.

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Unlike water-soluble vitamins, they are excreted in the faeces, which are diluted in water and excreted through the urine. Vitamin A is essential for life, but it is needed only in small amounts, which is why it is also called a micronutrient. It must be provided through a healthy and balanced diet because the body cannot synthesize it.


Vitamin A included in the diet

Some foods are especially rich in this vitamin. In vegetables it is found in the form of carotenoids, the most common being beta-carotene. Vitamin A comes from carotenoids that are synthesized by plant cells. When consumed, thanks to the action of an intestinal enzyme, they become vitamin A, which is abundant in the following foods:

  • Liver / Fish oil, such as cod liver oil / Blue fish.
  • Dairy, like butter / Egg.
  • Orange / Melon / Apricot.
  • Broccoli / Spinach / Pepper.
  • Carrot / Tomato / Lettuce.

Vitamin A Excess Poisoning in Dogs

In dogs it is very rare for hypervitaminosis A to occur. In the cats some cases are seen in the specimens that are fed on viscera and milk, since the belief that they are the ideal ingredients for the diet of these cats is still widespread. Of course, this is a mistake.

Although, as in the case of dogs, the spread of commercial formulated cat food makes it more difficult to find cases of hypervitaminosis A or any other hypervitaminosis.

In dogs, an excess of vitamin A is related to intense itching that makes the dog unable to stop scratching, weight loss and poor appetite or anorexia.

Vitamin supplements for dogs

It’s common for us to hear about the benefits of vitamins. And it is true that they are necessary to maintain health. But, if we offer our dog a healthy and balanced diet, you will get all the vitamins that your body demands. Some vitamins can be ingested in a high amount without repercussions because they are eliminated.

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But there are others that cannot be easily expelled, since they are excreted with difficulty. In that case, they accumulate in the body and can end up causing health problems. This is what happens with vitamin A. For this to happen, the animal must ingest a very high dose in a short period of time or high daily doses for a long period.

Therefore, we should never give supplements to our dog if it has not been prescribed by the vet. Nor are large amounts of any food frequently, since of course we find vitamins in all of them. This precaution is especially important in pregnant bitches, as it could have an effect on the development of fetuses.

Vitamin loss from food

It is true that vitamin A can be lost over time in commercial foods stored for long periods of time or stored under inadvisable conditions.

It can also be altered by changes in temperature and is easily oxidized by light. But, if we make proper use of these foods and use them within the expiration date established by the manufacturer, the adequate amount of vitamin A is guaranteed.