Hypoglycemia In Puppies (Low Blood Sugar)

By: Dr. Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M., Dr. James M. Griffin, D.V.M.

This is a central nervous system disorder caused by low blood sugar. It occurs mainly in TOY breeds between six and twelve weeks of age. Often it is precipitated by stress. The first signs are listlessness and depression. They are followed by muscular weakness, vomiting or diarrhea, tremors (especially in the facial muscles), and later convulsions, coma and death. The entire sequence is not always seen The dog may simply appear to be depressed or he may be weak, wobbly and jerky, or he may be found in a coma. Hypoglycemia can occur without warning when a puppy is placed in a new home or while being shipped. It might appear after a puppy misses a meal, chills, becomes exhausted from too much playing, or has a digestive upset. These upsets place an added strain on the energy reserves of the liver and bring on symptoms, if the dog is susceptible. Puppies who are weaned on rice and hamburger are more likely to develop hypoglycemia. Their diet is deficient in certain ingredients needed to sustain the liver.

TREATMENT: Treatment is directed at restoring blood levels of glucose. Begin at once. Prolonged or repeated attacks can cause permanent damage to the brain. If the puppy is awake, give him Karo syrup, honey or sugar in water by mouth. He will begin to improve within 30 minutes. When he is unconscious, he will have to be given a Dextrose solution intravenously. It may be necessary to treat for swelling of the brain. A veterinarian should be called at once, regardless if the puppy is awake or unconscious. Prevent recurrent attacks by feeding a high quality dry food diet and adding to it sugar, syrup or honey. See that the puppy eats at least every 4 hours and receives a daily vitamin. Owners of toy puppies should not overtire them or allow them to chill. Play must be offset by frequent feedings. A puppy, who does not eat frequently, for whatever reason, is heading for trouble.

A note from Meghan at Lucky 7 Schnauzers: I will send you home with honey or nutri-cal, USE IT! Your puppy can not go more than 4 hours without food or water, it will need food and water during the night. A high quality dog food is an absolute must. If your puppy becomes stressed and stops eating call me and give it the nutri-cal or honey. I will do everything I can to help you, however, please be aware I cannot replace a puppy due to neglect or ignorance. If you make the choice to bring one of these tiny Lucky babies into your home, please make the effort to be educated and dedicated.