HYPOGLYCEMIA IN SMALL BREED PUPPIES!
Hypoglycemia in small breed dogs can be deadly!
Your health guarantee does NOT cover hypoglycemia, so it is imperative you read this information and stay on top of it to keep your puppy healthy and happy!
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. An example is when your puppy plays for an extended period without eating. The most common trigger is stress, such as going to a new home.
Havanese and other toy breeds are prone to hypoglycemia because they have such tiny digestive systems. They can only store small amounts of food (energy) in their stomachs at one time. Their liver & pancreas, which are necessary for digestion and sugar balance, are also small and usually underdeveloped as well. As your puppy grows older, they too will grow along with other major organs allowing them to utilize and process food to help them sustain energy for longer amounts of time and grow out of being in danger of hypoglycemia.
REMEMBER: YOU CAN PREVENT YOUR PUPPY FROM BECOMING HYPOGLYCEMIC!
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.”
The first sign that is usually seen is vomiting on an empty stomach. (clear liquid). If your pup has not eaten in a while, and vomits without acting sick, give them food, or rub Nutri-Cal or honey into their gums immediately!
Signs of hypoglycemia: Vomiting, Listlessness, weakness, pale gums, stiffening up, walking with unsteadiness, falling over. Serious cases: unresponsiveness and white gums.
WARNING: 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 by rubbing it into their gums. 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 needed, pry their mouth open. It may be necessary to give several doses.
After being given something sweet, your puppy should show some type of improvement and be more responsive withing ten minutes or so. Once doing a little better try to encourage them to eat. You can soak their kibble with warm water making it easier to get them to swallow. The protein filled kibble will help them level out their blood sugar.
WARNING: If your puppy is not responding with improvement withing 10 minutes after receiving sugar, or appears to be severely lethargic/unresponsive, take him to the closest veterinarian immediately! In severe cases of hypoglycemia, if blood levels have dropped too low, they need more care than you can provide on your own! A veterinarian can provide fluids and glucose via a shot or IV to get the sugar levels up immediately!
Tell your doctor that you suspect hypoglycemia shock so they can treat her first thing! Unfortunately, some veterinarians are not familiar with treating tiny pups and/or have never seen a severe case of hypoglycemia and puppies may die needlessly while other routine tests are performed. 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 by rubbing into his gums!
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO AS IT COULD MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE OR DEATH FOR YOUR PUPPY!
CARING FOR A PUPPY AFTER HYPOGLYCEMIC SHOCK:
Every puppy responds differently after a sugar drop. The sooner they are treated after the onset of symptoms the faster they will bounce back. You want to get your pup back to happy, healthy running around and playing in a few minutes or few hours after an attack. If your puppy had a very severe case it could be a few days before they get back to normal. Remember low blood sugar can cause their tiny bodies to totally shut down, so many pups act depressed or groggy and most will not eat on their own after a severe attack.
- It is very important to make sure that they get food in their stomach to prevent them from going hypoglycemic again. If they are not eating on their own, you MUST hand/force feed them! Be sure to rub some nutrical or honey into their gums 10-15 minutes before meals to stimulate appetite. You can moisten food with warm water. If force feeding kibble is not working, you can purchase small cans of Royal Canin Starter Mousse. Give your puppy 1-2 teaspoons of this every 2 to 4 hours until he will eat on his own! The faster you can mix this with kibble again and get them eating on their own the better your puppy will get, and it will prevent picky eating in the long run.
- Keep your puppy warm! When a pup has low blood sugar, their body temp can drop extremely low. It is important to gradually warm them up. You can wrap them in a warm towel or put them on a low temp heating pad until they are regulating their own body temperature.
- You could also try giving your new pup ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon of plain yogurt once a day for the first week going home. Not only will they enjoy the taste of the yogurt and give them extra nutrition, the good bacteria can help problems and sometimes cure or prevent bacterial infections that can arise from the stress of going to their new homes.
Remember, at Royal Flush Havanese we are ALWAYS available to all our families 365 days a year. Our wish is for the transition for every one of our pups to be seamless however, that is not always the case so we are here to teach and assist in everything we possibly can! Don’t ever hesitate to contact us if we can be in anyway as we only want to keep our puppies happy and in optimal health! Be sure to read through our other blogs on Feeding Your Havanese Puppy to ensure your pups are getting the appropriate amount of nutrients they need at each meal!