Hypoglycemia is a central nervous system disorder caused by low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia happens when your puppy’s blood sugar levels drop below normal levels, leading to a lack of energy for the cells in the body. It occurs mainly in toy breeds between 6 and 12 weeks of age. There are many factors that can cause hypoglycemia in puppies and dogs. Some of the most common causes include poor nutrition, stress, and over-exercise. In severe cases, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening, especially in young puppies or toy breeds.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia in puppies and dogs can include lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, shaking or trembling, confusion, disorientation, seizures, and even coma. Symptoms may appear when a puppy is placed into a new home, after they miss a meal, becomes too cold, becomes exhausted from too much playing, or has a digestive upset.
Begin immediately! Treatment is directed at restoring blood levels of glucose. Give the puppy a mouthful of Nutri-Cal (Canine supplement), Karo syrup, or honey. If he cannot swallow it all at once, it will begin to absorb under the tongue and should start bringing him back to a conscious state so that he/she will be able to swallow the rest. When they can swallow, give him/her water (about 1 cc at a time so he doesn’t choke). Continue to give him Nutri-Cal and water about every 10 minutes until he is conscious and moving about. Make sure the puppy is eating well again. You will also need to begin some Pepto-Bismol to help him/her from getting bad diarrhea. The large dose of Nutri-Cal or syrup will probably cause some diarrhea, but it is usually self-limiting. If in the case your puppy doesn’t respond to the Nutri-Cal, call your veterinarian immediately! The puppy will need Sub-Q injections of lactated ringer’s solutions every four hours for about two days for hydration. They may also need some antibiotics to combat secondary infections that can arise from the lowered immune system that results from Hypoglycemia.
Although hypoglycemia can be a serious issue, it is easily prevented by good feeding and care practices of your puppy. Some of the most important things are:
- Feed small, frequent meals – Puppies should be fed small, frequent meals throughout the day to help maintain a steady blood sugar level. Avoid feeding your puppy large meals or high-carbohydrate treats, such as bread or cereal.
- Provide fresh water – Ensure that your puppy has access to fresh water at all times. Dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to drop, so it’s important to keep your pet hydrated.
- Avoid stress – Stress can be a trigger for hypoglycemia in puppies. Try to avoid stressful situations and make sure your pet gets plenty of rest.
- Monitor exercise – Regular exercise is important for your puppy’s health, but over-exercising can lead to hypoglycemia. Be mindful of your pet’s energy levels and avoid over-exerting them, especially in hot weather.
In conclusion, hypoglycemia can be a serious condition for puppies and dogs, but it can be easily prevented with proper care and attention. By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays happy and healthy!