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***Requires Quick Intervention in Toy Breeds***
Toy-breed dogs are not only at risk for hypoglycemia, but they can also die from the low blood sugar disorder if they do not receive prompt treatment.
When a dog’s blood sugar, or glucose, level drops, it can affect neurological function. Disorientation, tremors and coma may occur. Normally, hormones stimulate the breakdown of stored glycogen to supply the brain and other tissues with fuel. In toy breeds, this process may not happen fast enough, and hypoglycemia results.
Juvenile hypoglycemia occurs in puppies less than 3 months of age. Because puppies have not fully developed the ability to regulate blood glucose concentration and have a high requirement for glucose, they are vulnerable. Stress, cold, malnutrition and intestinal parasites also may trigger juvenile hypoglycemia.
Signs of hypoglycemia are loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, lack of coordination, trembling, muscle twitching, weakness, seizures, and discoloration of skin and gums. Most dogs will not eat or drink when they are in low sugar shock.
Simple cases of hypoglycemia can occur when a dog is overly active with too much time between meals or fasts before vigorous exercise.
Puppies and adult dogs that appear to be in a stupor or coma during a hypoglycemic attack should immediately be given sugar water or an oral concentrated solution of glucose, such as corn syrup or Nutri-Cal.
Owners of toy breeds should have a glucose source readily available. In an emergency, owners should dab sugar water on or under the tongue. The sugar is absorbed directly through the tissue into the bloodstream. Owners should proactively look for signs of hypoglycemia in their puppies and should frequently feed toy-breed puppies as a preventive measure.
Signs of Hypoglycemia