What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar level. It is a common and serious condition that can commonly occur in young puppies, especially toy breeds. Hypoglycemia can occur without warning and is life threatening. These attacks are almost always preceded by a stress of some kind. Stress factors include, but are not limited to, sudden changes in their environment, going to a new home, a car ride, being separated from it’s siblings and familiar surroundings, vaccinations, becoming chilled, upset stomach, not eating enough, playing too long or being handled too much and becoming over tired.
What are the symptoms?
It is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but fatal if allowed to progress. Typical signs of hypoglycemia are listlessness, depression, staggering or wobbly gait, muscular weakness, shaking or tremors. Legs may seem stiff and teeth clamped. Head may appear tilted to one side. One or more of these symptoms may occur. If untreated, the puppy will develop seizures and go into a coma. Death can follow in a short time.
What are the risks?
The risks depend on the severity or extent of the lack of blood sugar. If it is due to lack of food or excessive exercise it can be easily corrected. If however, the underlying cause is more serious, then hypoglycemia may be chronic and life threatening.
What should I do if I suspect my puppy is hypoglycemic?
If your new puppy is displaying any of the symptoms you should assume it is hypoglycemia and treat it accordingly. It's always better to be safe than sorry! If your puppy was not having a hypoglycemic spell, treatment would not have done it any harm. If the spell was due to hypoglycemia, treatment would have saved you puppy's life. When treating your puppy for hypoglycemia you should always remain calm.
Treatment: You must act quickly to restore the glucose level once it has dropped. Do not hesitate! Karo syrup (corn syrup) or honey rubbed on the gums and tongue will restore glucose level. Nutri-Cal (available at pet stores) can also be given as a preventive. ¼-½ inch in the morning and evening.
How do I PREVENT Hypoglycemia?
Because Hypoglycemia is PREVENTABLE, it is NOT covered under my health guarantee. Your new puppy must be watched very carefully for the first few days, until they’ve adjusted to their new home. They should eat and drink every few hours. If crated or left for an extended period of time, you must leave enough food to last. Pups tend to pick at their food throughout the day.
I sincerely hope that your puppy never has a hypoglycemic attack, and I also hope that this information will prevent an attack and educate you on how to treat it in the event one does occur.