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Hypoglycemia
(Low Blood Sugar)

Saddly, some Yorkie puppies are lost to Hypoglycemia.
Please read the information below and educate yourself on this preventable disorder.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Transient juvenile hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar, or glucose, drops too low (and/or too fast). "Transient" because the symptoms can be reversed by eating.  "Juvenile" because it is seen in young puppies.   Transient juvenile hypoglycemia is common in puppies because their bodies cannot yet regulate blood glucose concentrations in the way an adult dog's body does.  This means puppies must have more glucose, or blood sugar, more often than an adult.  Glucose is made in your dog's body when food is digested.  this means puppies need to eat often depending upon their age and size, as often as three or four time a day.  Most commonly affected by juvenile hypoglycemia are toy breeds less than 3 months old.  It is very important to keep food and water available at all times with a young, toy breed dog.

Some Causes May Be:

  • Overhandling, not allowing them enough rest and sleep.

  • Puppy refuses to eat for over a period of 8 hours.

  • Any related stress due to travel, trips to the vet, groomers. (try to limit outings until 5-6 months of age).

  • Change of home environment and or food.

  • Exposure to low room temperature for a period of time.

  • Poor diet.

  • Bacterial Infections.

Often precipitated by stress, Hypoglycemia can occur without warning.  It might appear after the puppy misses a meal, chills, becomes exhausted from playing, or has a digestive upset.  These upsets place an added strain on the puppy's energy reserves and can bring on the symptoms. 

Symptoms:

Lack of Energy

  • Lack of Energy may be the most common sigh of hypoglycemia in puppies.  Glucose fuels the body and provides energy, meaning puppies suffering from transient juvenile hypoglycemia are listless and weak.

Seizures

  • Because glucose is necessary for the brain's tissue and muscles to work, if glucose levels drop dangerously low, the puppy may have seizures.  Sometimes, hypoglycemia can even cause puppies to faint or become comatose.  Because of this, it is important to notice initial symptoms, such as listlessness, and provide treatment immediately.

Other Symptoms

  • Additional symptoms can include a loss of appetite, lack of coordination, tremblig, muscle twitching, unusual behavior and dilated pupils.  If you suspect your puppy is suffering from hypoglycemia but he is not exhibiting noticeable symptom, look at his gums.  A puppy's gums are normally a red to bright pink color--the same as yours.  However, if a puppy is suffering from hypoglycemia, his gums are pale pink to white. 

Treatment

  • If you suspect that your dog is experiencing hypoglycemia, rub a bit of NutiCal or Karo syrup on your pet's gums and call your veterinarian.  I believe that NutiCal is a must have with Yorkie babies!  The doctor will determine the underlying cause of the hypoglycemic attack.  Sometimes hypoglycemia is misdiagnosed by the veterinarian, so I would always treat for hypoglycemia as this will certainaly not hurt if indeed this is not the problem.  If the cause of the hypoglycemia is indeed a lack of food or too much exercise, it can be easily treated and prevented from reoccurring.

Prevention 

To prevent juvenile hypoglycemia, provide puppies with a warm environment, feed frequently (as often as three or four times per day), let your puppy get plenty of rest and do routine vaccinations and dewormings as recommended by your veterinarian.

Remember that your new Yorkie family member is depending on you to make good decisions for it to remain happy and healthy.