Why Is My Dog Or Cat’s Blood Bicarbonate Level Low?

Bicarbonate = Total CO2; TCO2; Carbon Dioxide Content; CO2 Content; Bicarb= HCO3

Ron Hines DVM PhD

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

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

To see how tests are often grouped, go here 

For a more thorough explanation of why your pet’s bicarbonate levels could be low, also see the causes of a high anion gap

Bicarbonate is the most important buffer in your dog or cat ’s blood and tissue fluids. Buffers act like car shock absorbers and torsion bars to lessen large swings in body acidity produced by the normal, and abnormal chemical processes going on in your pet’s body (its metabolism).

Measurement of your pet’s blood bicarbonate level provides similar information, as does the measurement of your pet’s Anion Gap or blood pH .

Health Problems That Can Causes Bicarbonate Levels To Be Reduced In Your Dog And Cat:

Addison’s disease, Vomiting, Chronic diarrhea, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Antifreeze poisoning, can all cause your pet’s blood bicarbonate levels to decrease.

Overdoses of aspirin, lung disease and any of the other causes of acidosis or alkalosis can cause abnormally low blood bicarbonate levels as well.

Complementary tests:

CBC/WBC and blood chemistry panel, anion gap Blood Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Blood Gases, Kidney tests: BUN, Creatinine as well as the many tests suggested in diagnosing the conditions I mentioned in discussing blood pH, and  anion gap.


You are on the Vetspace animal health website