What is Hypoglycemia?

Toy and Small breed puppies are prone to juvenile hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar.

Juvenile hypoglycemia is potentially life threatening and is an emergency.

 

Why are these puppies more prone to hypoglycemia than larger puppies?

All toy and small breed puppies have a higher metabolic rate and energy requirement than large puppies, as well as less fat stores. Low blood sugar is usually caused by lack of food - but stress, cold, dehydration, and intestinal parasites also may trigger juvenile hypoglycemia. Puppies of this size do not tolerate fleas. They are simply too small to have any blood to give away to blood sucking parasites. They need to be adequately dewormed and checked over for any signs of infectious disease. Diarrhea is common for puppies but a very tiny puppy cannot withstand the dehydration that comes with it. Cases of hypoglycemia can even occur when a dog is overly active with too much time between meals, or skips a meal before exercise.

 

How will I know if my puppy is hypoglycemic?

Signs of hypoglycemia are:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Listless

  • Extreme lethargy

  • Lack of coordination

  • Trembling

  • Muscular twitching

  • Weakness

  • Unusual behavior

  • Seizures

  • Dilated pupils

  • Stupor or coma

 

What do I do if I think my puppy is hypoglycemic?

Immediately rub corn syrup on their gums. This should make them pep up right away. Then call your veterinarian. Remember this is life threatening. If you do not have corn syrup, dabbing sugar water under their tongue will do as well, corn syrup is just more effective as the body uses it more efficiently than raw sugar. There is also a substance called Nutri-Cal that can be purchased and used in the same way. You are placing the corn syrup on the gums or the sugar water under the tongue so that the sugar is absorbed directly into the bloodstream instead of going through the digestive system. Do not put the corn syrup or sugar water in loose i their mouth or by their throat. Not only can they choke on it, but you are trying to get it on the tissue of their mouth, not trying to get them to swallow it.

 

Prevention

  • Your puppy should eat every 6 to 8 hours. If you are going to be gone longer than that, you should leave food down. 

  • Always have either Nutri-Cal or corn syrup in your house.

  • Bring Nutri-Cal or corn syrup (in a baggie in case of leaks) in your purse when going out with your puppy.

  • Bring food with you when going out for longer periods.

  • Make sure your puppy stays warm enough. Usually a thick bed plus cuddly blanket they can build into a nest is enough. When outside watch that they don’t get too cold.

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