Brady, a two year old male Yorkie, came to VESCONE with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and was very weak after not eating for 12 hours. He is feeling better thanks to intravenous fluids and dextrose (sugar) supplementation.
Puppies and toy breeds are more susceptible to juvenile hypoglycemia because their bodies cannot yet regulate blood glucose (sugar) concentrations in the way an adult dog's body does.
Due to their small size, they must replenish their energy more frequently than larger size puppies and older dogs. This means puppies must have more glucose, or blood sugar, more often than an adult. The only way to do this is by supplying frquent nourishment in the form of food.
Glucose is made in your dog's body when food is digested. Puppies only eat very small amounts of food at a time but they exert large amounts of energy. . This means puppies need to eat often---depending upon their age and size, as often as every two to six hours. Dogs most commonly affected by juvenile hypoglycemia are toy breeds less than 3 months old.
Stress, cold, malnutrition, excessive exercise and intestinal parasites are also common causes of juvenile hypoglycemia. Lack of energy may be the most common sign of hypoglycemia in puppies, and they can appear listless and weak. Additional symptoms can include a loss of appetite, lack of coordination, trembling, muscle twitching, unusual behavior and dilated pupils.
If your suspect your puppy is suffering from hypoglycemia, rub a bit of Karo syrup or honey on your pet's gums and call your veterinarian immediately. The doctor will determine the underlying cause of the hypoglycemic attack. If the cause of the hypoglycemia is indeed a lack of food, it can be easily treated and prevented from reoccurring.
To prevent juvenile hypoglycemia, provide puppies with a warm environment, feed frequently (as often as every two to six hours depending upon their age and size), do routine vaccinations and have them checked for intestinal parasites.
If you believe your pet is having an emergency, please call your local 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital or VESCONE at 781-684-8387.
Guest Post Written by Emergency and Critical Care Technician: Robyn Heater, CVT