Hypoglycemia is a common problem with all small breed puppies.
Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar, which is a condition in which there is a
drastic, sudden drop in the level of blood sugar in the puppy. In small breed puppies from post-
weaning to 4 month of age, the most common form of hypoglycemia is called Transient Juvenile
Hypoglycemia: “Transient” because the symptoms can be reversed by eating; "Juvenile" because it
is seen in young puppies. As a small breed owner, it is important to recognize the symptoms of
hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but
fatal if allowed to progress.
Hypoglycemic incidents are almost always preceded by a stress of some kind. Some examples of
common stresses include: weaning, teething, vaccinations, a change in environment, shipping, over-
handling, cold temperatures, intestinal parasites, infections, anorexia, etc. Many small breed
puppies simply play too hard and stress their system or forget to eat.
The first sign of hypoglycemia is the puppy slowing down and then acting listless. The puppy will
then begin to tremble or shiver. This is a reaction caused as the brain is starved for glucose. More
signs of an attack are a weakness, confusion, wobbly gait, frothing or drooling from the mouth -
sometimes even a seizure and drain of blood from the head. His body will be limp, lifeless, and a
check of the gums will show them to be pale, almost a grayish white in color rather than a healthy
bright pink.. The body temperature will be subnormal. After a time, the puppy will become comatose
and may even appear to be dead. The puppy can go into shock and, if not cared for properly and
promptly, may even die.
If hypoglycemia is caught in the early stages, rub Nutri-Cal (Karo syrup will do if you have no Nutri-
Cal) on the puppy's gums, under the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Get a heating pad or
heating blanket and slowly warm the puppy to proper body temperature. If the puppy responds, all is
well. Feed a quality, canned food containing, high-carbohydrates and protein right away (you may
want to mix it with egg yolk) and then monitor the puppy to be sure that the condition does not recur.
Be sure to eliminate the stress that caused the episode if at all possible.
If hypoglycemia is caught in the more advanced stages, rub Nutri-Cal or Karo in the mouth, and
carefully insert a small amount in the rectum. Slowly warm the puppy to normal body temperature
(101-102 degrees F) and keep him warm continuously with light heat. If the puppy still does not
respond, carefully eye dropper dextrose solution or Karo water into the mouth, a little at a time only
if the dog can swallow. Call your veterinarian immediately and inform him that you have a