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Treating Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

Treating Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

Low blood sugar in dogs may sometimes lead to severe complications including death. Read on to know more about dog hypotension treatment.
Sonia Nair
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is a condition in which the glucose level of the blood drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter. But, usually symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs develop as the blood sugar level drops to 50 milligrams per deciliter. This condition is mostly seen in puppies, especially of toy breeds. Even adult dogs may develop hypoglycemia, due to various factors, like heredity, pregnancy or nursing or some underlying medical conditions. Low blood sugar is also experienced in dogs, after rigorous exercise, hunting and stress. The symptoms of hypoglycemia may range from mild to severe. If left untreated, this condition may lead to coma and even death. So, treating low blood sugar in dogs, is highly important.

Canine Hypotension - Causes

So, low blood sugar is mostly found in puppies and this is due to their inability to control the levels of blood sugar levels. This in turn is due to their immature bodily systems that fail to control blood sugar levels. Factors that may contribute to this type of juvenile hypoglycemia are intake of less food or poor quality food, rigorous exercise or physical activity, mental stress, exposure to cold and intestinal parasites. As mentioned above, toy breed puppies are more susceptible to this condition.

In case of adult dogs, low blood sugar is caused by various factors. This include hormonal imbalances, severe Addison's Disease, pancreatic tumors, sepsis and liver diseases. This condition may also develop as a complication during pregnancy. Administration of excess insulin can be a cause of hypoglycemia in dogs with diabetes. Other causes include pancreatic tumors that produce insulin, congenital problems that affect the blood vessels and liver shunt.

Signs and Symptoms

The severity of low blood sugar symptoms in dogs is often found to be based on the rate of drop in blood sugar levels and the underlying cause. While a slight fall in blood sugar levels may not cause any symptoms, a sharp decline may be manifested with signs like, seizures or convulsions, trembling, slow breathing, restlessness, muscular twitching, dilated pupils, extreme weakness, confusion, slow breathing, head tilting and disorientation. In case of severe hypoglycemia, the dog may slip to coma and may die eventually. Even those with mild to moderate symptoms may develop these complications, if left untreated. Lack of timely treatment may also cause permanent brain damage in dogs.

How to Treat Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

If you notice symptoms of low blood sugar in your pet, you have to take immediate measures to increase their blood sugar levels. In case of mild symptoms, offer them with food, along with some corn syrup, maple syrup, jam or honey. This should be done as a first-aid treatment. One teaspoon will be enough for puppies, but, adult dogs need at least one tablespoon of any sugary liquids. In case of moderate to severe symptoms, like, convulsions and unconsciousness, apply any of these sugary fluids inside the mouth of the dog, with the help of a syringe. Keep the dog warm and take him/her to the vet, at the earliest. The vet will conduct some diagnostic tests, like complete blood count, serum insulin, urinalysis, ultrasound of the abdomen and blood glucose concentration. The course of treatment will be decided as per the severity of the condition and underlying cause. In some severe cases, intravenous administration of glucose and other medications may be required.

The above said is only a brief overview about treating low blood sugar in dogs. This condition can be prevented to some extent by proper care that include regular feeding with nutritious food (especially for puppies), regular checkups, deworming at regular intervals, routine vaccinations and providing them with a warm and cozy environment. So, if you notice any of the above said symptoms in your pet, take him/her to the vet as soon as possible, so as to avoid complications.