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Canine Hypocalcemia (Eclampsia)

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Canine Hypocalcemia

If you are looking for canine hypocalcemia (eclampsia) home remedies, most likely your dog has just delivered a litter of puppies. Hypocalcemia is the medical term meaning low levels of calcium. Calcium plays a vital role in dogs that have just delivered a litter of healthy puppies. In some cases, when the litter is large, or if the new mom belongs to a toy breed, calcium may become scarce, causing a serious condition called eclampsia, also known as Canine Hypocalcemia or Milk fever.

Canine Hypocalcemia (Eclampsia)

Symptoms of Canine Hypocalcemia

A dog affected by canine eclampsia usually had the litter 2 to 4 weeks ago. However, sometimes the symptoms of hypocalcemia -low calcium in the blood- can take place even after 6 weeks.

A dog affected by eclampsia will exhibit some warning symptoms to which an owner must pay immediate attention.

Often eclampsia may be confused with a case of seizures. Below are warning symptoms suggesting dog eclampsia:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain during walking
  • Nervousness
  • Refusal to nurse
  • Panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Tightening of facial muscles
  • High temperature
  • Low blood sugar
  • Muscle twitches
  • Drunk sailor walking
  • Eye twitching

Treatment of Canine Hypocalcemia

Eclampsia is an emergency. It's important to have your dog seen by the vet at once. Upon taking a blood sample, a diagnosis of low calcium in the blood can be made. Intravenous calcium will be given slowly under the form of calcium gluconate to avoid heart arrythmias.

Dextrose to raise glucose levels can be given orally or by intravenous injection. Anti- seizure medications are given to stop the muscle spasms. Because intense seizures can raise a dog's temperature, the dog's temperature must be bought down to normal.

Often, the dog's symptoms subside shortly after treatment. The puppies may need to be hand-raised during treatment. Once stabilized, calcium may be given orally along with vitamin D to ensure proper absorption.

Once the mother has recovered and has been put on calcium supplements, the puppies can be returned to the her and allowed to nurse normally.

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Dog Hypocalcemia Home Remedies

As already mentioned, canine hypocalcemia is a potentially life threatening condition that requires fast veterinary intervention. Affected dogs may need calcium supplements given intravenously and their calcium levels should be monitored carefully.

Dog owners often wonder whether it is possible to treat canine hypocalcemia at home. There are really no completely safe dog hypocalcemia home remedies, once this condition has set in and the dog is severely affected. However, there are several things dog owners can do while they wait for the vet's office to open.

First and foremost, it's important to immediately stop the puppies from nursing because mother dog has been putting so much calcium in the milk causing her calcium blood levels to significantly drop, explains veterinarian Dr. Bruce. Stopping the dog from nursing will stop any further loss of calcium.

Once mother dog recovers, nursing can be gradually resumed until the puppies are ready to be weaned (stop nursing and start solid foods). Weaning is started by introducing puppy gruel/mush at about 3 weeks of age.

At home, you can give calcium supplements to temporarily raise blood levels until you can see the vet. Tums are a popular over the counter calcium carbonate antacid supplement that can be used in such cases. Each Tums 500 mg calcium carbonate tablet supplies 200 mg calcium, according to DVM360.

A small dog such as a Yorkie can take 1/2 of a Tums at 8 hour intervals, explains veterinarian Dr. Michael Salkin.

[adinserter block="4"] Prevention of Canine Hypocalcemia

As the saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." To prevent this potentially deadly condition, it's important to avoid over supplementation of calcium. As odd as it may seem, calcium over-supplementation during pregnancy may do more harm than good. Well-meaning dog owners may be only causing problems when they supplement calcium during their dog's pregnancy.

The reason behind this is how calcium is produced. Calcium is constantly produced by adding and taking away from bones as needed. This production is established by the parathyroid hormone. When calcium is over supplemented, the body will automatically reduce production of parathyroid hormones.

Then once, the puppies are delivered, the parathyroid hormone is not prepared to suddenly produce high quantities of calcium which takes some time to take away from the bones. The dog therefore, is left with little calcium which is further depleted by the puppies' nursing. Therefore, it is best to keep a careful eye on the calcium supplementation or simply refrain from supplementing during pregnancy by only providing calcium once the puppies are delivered.

Providing a good high quality meat based food to pregnant bitches is usually the best course of action. Always discuss with a veterinarian about supplementing calcium and learn about what the best options are. After delivering a healthy litter of puppies nothing is more devastating than the mother dog getting sick.

While calcium should not be administered when the dog is pregnant, it can be given as a preventive in dogs prone to eclampsia during nursing. Play it safe by consulting with your veterinarian on how you can prevent eclampsia with calcium supplements when your dog is nursing.

"The administration of calcium throughout lactation, but not gestation, may be attempted in dams with a history of recurrent eclampsia."~Dr. Autumn Davidson

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