Hypoglycemia in dogs can cause some very unusual behaviors that include trembling, seizures, or in severe cases, stupors or comas.
It can also cause your dog to act as if they are temporarily blind.
But whatever the reaction is in your dog, it can be a frightening experience.
The good news is that there are very good treatments available and in most cases dogs will fully recover.
However, if it is not properly identified and treated, it could cause the death of your dog.
Hypoglycemia in dogs is a condition where your pet’s blood sugar has become very low and it could be caused by several different factors.
It is technically defined as a blood glucose count in your dog of less than 70 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dl of blood.
70 mg/dl is considered the warning stage, but serious conditions do not occur until the level in your dog drops below 50 mg/dl.
There are three basic types of hypoglycemia in dogs: juvenile, hunting, and hormone imbalance.
Although there are several wide ranging potential causes, these three basic principles precipitate this condition.
The first principle is that your dog is simply not eating enough.
As any dog owner knows, dogs love to eat and will eat almost anything, and this principle is most common in puppies less than three months of age as well as toy breeds.
The next principle is an increased demand, and in some cases, overworking them; and is referred to as the hunting version of this condition.
However, this is somewhat confusing as this form occurs not only in working dogs, but pregnant or nursing dogs as well.
The third principle is a hormone imbalance. Insulin is the primary hormone in your dog’s body that is in charge of keeping the glucose levels above the 70 mg/dl level.
It does this job by moving glucose out of your dog’s blood and into their cells.
In a normal dog, the insulin production will vary throughout their daily activities and when they eat, it normally rises back to normal.
When this happens, your dog’s immune system reacts and produces more insulin which in turn removes the excess glucose and stores it in your dog’s body cells.
By doing this naturally, it maintains a constant level. However, when their body produces too much insulin, their blood glucose levels become too low which is also a real danger.
This over production is caused by insulin producing tumors called insulinoma.
There are several potential causes of Hypoglycemia in dogs including the principles.
Juvenile hypoglycemia can also be caused by a puppy that has a lot of stress, gets too cold, or has intestinal parasites.
However, infrequent feedings or eating is still the largest cause.
Puppies have not fully developed have a very difficult time controlling the levels because of these conditions.
All breeds of puppies can be affected, but toy breeds are a lot more prone to this form of hypoglycemia.
Fasting or not eating properly before any type of a vigorous exercise is the leading cause of what is referred to as hunting hypoglycemia.
But there are also causes, especially with the hormone imbalance principle.
Addisons disease, which is a disorder caused by an insufficient hormone production by your dog’s adrenal glands, can also trigger your dog’s body to produce too much insulin.
If your dog is being treated for diabetes, which is where they are not producing enough insulin, and are given too much, it can overload your pets system and cause hypoglycemia in dogs.
However, there are two other potential causes of this condition; malabsorption and malnutrition.
Malabsorption is a deficiency that affects your dog’s ability to absorb one or more nutrients that are in their gastrointestinal tract and they do not absorb properly.
When this occurs, the nutrients cannot be delivered to your pet’s circulation and as a result, it affects the blood sugar levels.
Malnutrition is much different than fasting or not eating frequently enough, it is simply not eating.
Although it is not very common in dogs, it does occur as a result of some other underlying condition and it affects your pet’s ability to produce blood sugar properly.
There are several symptoms that you can watch for that your pet is either developing hypoglycemia in dogs or actually has it. The first symptom will be a loss of appetite.
When the blood sugar level is too low, it can cause your dog to lose their appeal for food.
However, the most telling symptoms will be if your dog starts to tremble or their muscles start to twitch.
If this occurs, they will than show signs of weakness and if the condition is starting to become severe, they may go into a seizure.
You can usually tell that your dog is in this stage by looking at their eyes; if they are dilated, something is very wrong.
At that point, you will need to actually check their eyes for sight. If it appears that your dog has lost their sight, they are very close to going into a stupor or a coma, which may take their life.
Feeding your puppies and toy breeds smaller quantities on a more frequent basis will often bring the lowered sugar levels back to normal and help your pet’s body properly maintain that level.
In emergency situations, you can feed your dog, even if you have to force them, the following foods that will quickly regulated raise their blood sugar levels back to normal.
Karo-syrup is especially effective with puppies and toy breeds.
By placing a small amount of this syrup onto your dog’s gums, they will lick it and it will also absorb into their gums and then into their system.
Honey can produce the same results, as well as fruit juices or Gatorade. If you have none of these on hand, any brand of cola drink can produce very quick results.
If your dog does not react very quickly, they are in the final stages, and as a result will need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Other forms of treatment for Hypoglycemia in dogs will have to be done after your veterinarian has done a detailed diagnosis on what the actual cause of the hypoglycemia is.
In most all cases, an underlying reason can be found and treated successfully.
The key is watching for the symptoms and then reacting very quickly.