What is Hypoglycemia?
Remember, your health guarantee does NOT cover hypoglycemia so it is imperative you read this information closely and stay on top of things.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar (sometimes called “sugar shock”) is a condition where the blood sugar level drops to an extremely low level due to lack of food, or by using up all stored energy without it being replenished. (Such as when your puppy plays for an extended period of time without eating.) The most common trigger is stress (such as going to a new home).
Toy breeds can be prone to hypoglycemia because they have such tiny digestive systems.
They can only store a small amount of food (energy) in their stomach at one time. Their liver and pancreas which are necessary for digestion and sugar balance are also small and usually underdeveloped as well. Most puppies tend to grow out of hypoglycemia as they get older. As they grow, so do their major organs. This makes them more able to utilize and to process the food that they eat so it can sustain them
for longer periods of time.
REMEMBER: to prevent hypoglycemia, puppies need to eat several small meals a day. It is much easier to prevent by always having a readily available food supply, than to have to treat it once it happens. It is very scary to see a puppy that you love so dearly in “sugar shock.”
Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can occur without warning in a healthy puppy and can be a very scary thing! So it is best to know what to look for! Your puppy may exhibit one or more of these signs: The first sign that is usually seen is vomiting on an empty stomach. (clear liquid) If your puppy has not eaten in a while, and vomits without acting sick, give them food, Nutri-Cal or Karo syrup immediately! Some other signs are acting listless, weak, tired, sometimes walking with an unsteady gait and drunk, shakiness, falling over, stiffening up, laying on their side paddling with their feet and being unable to get up, and in very severe advanced cases, laying on their side and being totally unresponsive or comatose.
If your puppy becomes hypoglycemic, it is very important that you react IMMEDIATELY!! If the puppy is not given some quick form of nutrition containing sugar (i.e. Nutri-Cal, honey, sugar, glucose, Karo syrup or sugar containing product) to raise the blood sugar immediately, coma and/or possibly death could result.
If any of these symptoms occur, give the puppy a small dose of either Nutri-Cal, honey, sugar, glucose, Karo syrup, pancake syrup or any sugar containing product that is handy. Time is of the essence, so reach for whatever is the closest at the moment. If the puppy is unable to swallow do not force liquids down it’s throat as it can get into the lungs and cause asphyxiation. If the puppy is too weak to swallow and take the honey or Nutri-Cal on it’s own, put it on your finger and rub it on the roof of it’s mouth. If necessary, pry his mouth open. It may be necessary to give several doses.
(I like to keep a product called Pet Nutri-Drops on hand. It allows nutrition to bypass digestion and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Very handy if a puppy is too unresponsive to swallow on his own.)
After being given something sweet, your puppy should show some type of improvement and be more alert and responsive within 10-15 minutes. After your puppy feels a little better, remember to give him/her a protein filled meal (any good meat based dog food or meat baby food will do.) to level out it’s blood sugar.
**IMPORTANT! If your puppy does not respond with any improvement after the sugar that you have fed him within 10-15 minutes, or appears comatose or unresponsive, take him immediately to the closest veterinarian! In severe cases, if their blood sugar has dropped too far, it is sometimes necessary for them to receive glucose (dextrose) given by a shot or IV. Make sure that you tell your vet that you suspect
that your puppy is in hypoglycemic shock and specifically ask for a shot of Dextrose before he does anything else. Unfortunately many veterinarians are not familiar with treating tiny puppies and/or have never seen a case of hypoglycemia and many puppies have died needlessly while the vet wastes precious time performing routine tests and looking for other things.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO AS IT COULD MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE OR DEATH FOR YOUR PUPPY!!
REMEMBER: Every minute counts!! Before going out the door to the vet make sure and give some honey, Nutri-Cal or Karo syrup to your puppy. If he is comatose or unresponsive do not give liquids that he can choke on or won’t be able to swallow. Instead, rub a coating of honey or Nutri-Cal around in his tongue and mouth.
Hypoglycemia After Care
How to care for your puppy after a hypoglycemic incident. Every puppy responds differently after a sugar low. The sooner they are treated after the onset of symptoms the faster they will bounce back. Many pups are back to their old selves and running around and playing in a few minutes or a few hours after an attack. But if your puppy has had a very severe case or was comatose before treatment, it could take several hours and even as much as several days for your puppy to be back to normal. Remember low blood sugar causes their tiny bodies to totally shut down, so many pups act very depressed or groggy and some will not eat on their own after a severe attack. To help your puppy recuperate:
1. It is very important to make sure that they get food in their stomach to prevent them from going into hypoglycemia again. If they are not eating on their own, you must hand feed them. We use a few teaspoons of Gerber strained beef, chicken or turkey all meat baby food, a few drops of honey and about a two inch strip of Nutri-Cal in a small cup; microwave for 10 seconds or so until the Nutri-Cal melts, stir and give 3 -6 cc’s by mouth with a syringe or eye dropper. If your puppy is not eating on his own you need to repeat every 2 to 4 hours until he will take food himself. There is also a terrific new product out called Rebound Liquid Diet it is a liquid diet that is totally nutritionally complete and is great as an added supplement for hypoglycemic
pups that are not eating well!
2. Keep your puppy warm. When a puppy has low blood sugar, their body temperature drops very low. It is important to gradually warm your puppy. Wrap them in a towel or put them on a low temperature heating pad until they are well enough to keep their own temperature up.
We recommend giving your new puppy a 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of live culture vanilla flavored yogurt once or twice a day for the first week or two. Not only does the yogurt taste good and give them extra nutrition, the good bacteria it contains can help prevent problems and sometimes even cure or prevent bacterial infections that can arise from the stress of going to a new home.
Items to Have
Even though you may not need a particular item at this moment, it doesn’t hurt to be prepaid and to have it stored away.
Two Stainless Steel Bowls or Ceramic Bowls
16 oz Shampoo/Conditioner
Curved Slicker Brush
Cat (Quick Release) Collar
Fleece Bed (or any dog bed that offers warmth)
Exercise Pen (to keep the puppy in while you’re away and/or at night)
Tooth Brush/ Tooth Paste (Or spray on products such as Leba III)
More toys (the louder the sound is the better trainable the puppy becomes)
Pee Pee Pads (I personal use reusable ones)
Karo Syrup or Nutrical (to help against low blood sugar)