Hypoglycaemia

This is a condition that is more common in Toy breeds of dogs. It can happen at any age but is most commonly seen in puppies. It is low glucose levels in the blood stream and if not treated quickly, the puppy can drift into a coma and die.

Causes are many, but the most common are anorexia. If your puppy is not eating properly, prevent Hypoglycaemia by supplementing the puppy with a vitamin and mineral paste such as Nutrigel, also adding glucose to the drinking water will help. A severe bout of diarrhoea or vomiting may also predispose the puppy to this.

Signs of low blood glucose:
Low blood glucose can be fatal, so it is extremely important that you recognize these signs, which are often subtle in the early stages:
restlessness
trembling or shivering, weakness, and a depressed expression
unusual movements or behavior - some animals become very quiet and stop eating.
muscle twitching
coma

What to do:
If any of the above signs are present, you will have to react quickly.
1. Provide food immediately.
2. If your dog refuses to eat, administer a glucose solution immediately. Glucose solution can be made from glucose powder and tap water. (It is wise always to keep a small amount of glucose solution ready for use.) One gram of glucose per kilogram body weight should be given (1 teaspoon per 5kg).
3. Administer the solution carefully into the cheek pouch. Only do this if you are sure that your pet can swallow. Give the solution very slowly to avoid choking. A clean syringe is useful for administering glucose solution.
4. If your pet is unable to swallow normally, rub the glucose powder into the gums (especially under the tongue). BE CAREFUL THAT YOU ARE NOT BITTEN. If glucose is unavailable, use jam or honey.
5. As soon as recovery is evident, give your dog a small amount of food. Then keep an eye on your dog for several hours to ensure that the signs do not return and contact your veterinary surgeon.
6. If your dog's condition worsens (muscle twitching, unconsciousness) or you are unsure, call your veterinary surgeon immediately.
7. After an attack, I advise keeping the puppy on a liquid vitamin B complex formula at least until he is well over eight months old. This stimulates appetite and helps with the nervous system.

Written by Anne Roditis-Muscat
copyright 2007-02-20