Hypoglycemia is a life-threatening condition in which blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels. While hypoglycemia can be caused by a wide number of things, including infection, poor nutrition, stress, and low body temperature, it can occur for little to no reason, especially in small dogs, such as toy breeds, and puppies. A small dog who develops this condition can deteriorate very quickly. Therefore, it's vital that you learn all you can about hypoglycemia so you recognize it immediately and seek help for your pet.
Why Small Dogs?
As mentioned, small dogs are more susceptible to hypoglycemia than larger dogs. This is for a couple of reasons. First, the muscle mass of small breeds is low, which makes it more difficult for them to retain proper glucose levels. Second, young dogs, puppies less than 3 months of age, need a lot of glucose in order to play and grow. Unfortunately, they do not have the ability to regulate their blood sugar very well. When these two risk factors come together, the likelihood of your pet developing hypoglycemia is pretty high.
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of advanced hypoglycemia are hard to ignore, since many dogs simply collapse and go into what appears to be a stupor or coma. They may also have seizures. However, you don't want to wait until this point to recognize the signs. The earlier you catch it, the better. Watch out for the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme lethargy
- Unusual behavior
- Dilated pupils
- Pale gums
What's the Treatment and Prevention?
Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Keep some sort of glucose product on hand for your dog if it is a toy breed or puppy. Simple Karo Syrup will work, but there are also products that you can pick up at your pet store. If your dog appears to be in the early stages of hypoglycemia, rub the product on their gums and on the backs of their upper teeth. Transport your dog to the emergency vet if symptoms do not improve. If symptoms are advanced when you notice the problem, go to the emergency vet immediately.
Of course, you want to do your best to prevent hypoglycemia in the first place. The best way to do this is to feed your dog small, frequent meals. If your dog does not like to eat regularly, try some wet food or enticing treats. Do not let them go hours without food.
Hypoglycemia is a dangerous condition, but it can be easily treated if it is spotted early. Always watch your dog for signs of this deadly condition. You can find more information by going to websites like http://www.akronvet.com.