Hypoglycemia is a syndrome that occurs
primarily in toy breeds between 6 and 12 weeks of age. A hypoglycemic attack is
often precipitated by stress. The typical signs are listlessness, depression,
staggering gait, muscular weakness, and tremors-especially of the face. Puppies
with a severe drop in blood sugar will develop seizures or become stuporous and
go into a coma. Death can follow. This particular sequence of symptoms is not
always seen though. For example, some puppies exhibit only weakness or a wobbly
gait. Occasionally a puppy who seemed just fine is found in coma.
Episodes of hypoglycemia often occur without warning-for example, when a puppyć
becoming exhausted from too much play. Other common causes of acute hypoglycemia
are missing a meal, becoming chilled, or having an upset stomach. These events
place an added strain on the energy reserves of the liver.
Prolonged or repeated hypoglycemic attacks in toy breed puppies can cause brain
damage. Puppies with frequent attacks should undergo veterinary testing to rule
out an underlying problem.
Treatment: The treatment of an acute attack is aimed at restoring the blood
sugar. Begin immediately If the puppy is awake and able to swallow, give corn
syrup or sugar water by syringe, or rub corn syrup, honey, or glucose paste on
the gums. You should see improvement in 30 minutes. If not, call your
If the pup is unconscious, do not give an oral solution because it will be
inhaled. Rub corn syrup, honey, or glucose paste on the gums and proceed at once
to your veterinarian. This puppy will require an intravenous dextrose solution
and may need to be treated for brain swelling.
Oral glucose paste is sold at pharmacies. If you know your dog is subject to
hypoglycemic attacks, keep this product on hand.
Prevention: Susceptible puppies should be fed at least four times a day. Owners
of toy puppies should take precautions to see that they do not become
excessively tired or chilled. Many (but not all) puppies outgrow this problem.