Staying Healthy

Eclampsia (Milk Fever) in Dogs is Deadly Serious

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Lactating female dogs with a young litter of pups to feed are susceptible to Eclampsia (Milk Fever) and need extra calcium to ward of this condition. While the puppies are not affected as their mother’s milk is nutritious enough for their needs, the mother can suffer. How do we help mom out during this stressful time?

Eclampsia (Milk Fever)

Eclampsia (Milk Fever) can occur while the mother dog is still pregnant but normally reveals itself during the first three weeks after giving birth to the litter. The litter does not need to be large for this condition, and it tends to be more prevalent in smaller breeds of dogs. This is a very serious illness that must be corrected as soon as possible. The good news is detecting Eclampsia is not difficult for the pets owner to spot. Your nursing mom will show signs of stiffness in the hind legs and joints when walking as well as being restless and nervous. She will eventually not be able to get up and her rate of breathing will increase. Her temperature will certainly go up and can reach 105 degrees in advanced stages.

If there are any indications the mom has Eclampsia (Milk Fever), immediately get her to the vet and do not allow the pups to nurse for at least 24 hours. They will need to be bottle fed until the mother is better. Your vet will quickly diagnose this condition with a blood sample, and once confirmed the treatment is intravenous calcium supplements. If your dog does well with the vet treatments and her blood tests show normal levels, get the ok from your vet before allowing the pups to start nursing from her again. Once her calcium levels are back in the normal range you can use oral supplements to maintain her calcium levels. When bottle feeding the puppies, use a quality milk substitute recommended by your vet, and this is normally available at pet stores as well as online.

Many dog owners with a pregnant female begin to increase the supplements, including calcium, as the dog progresses through her pregnancy to the birth of the litter. This is NOT recommended as it can actually help bring on Eclampsia (Milk Fever) in an otherwise healthy dog. The calcium levels are controlled by her glands, and unless you begin to see the signs we discussed above, avoid adding calcium unless specified by your vet after a complete examination.

Have you had to deal with this condition? Advice and comments are welcome below.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Chas

    Chas

    says:

    My female dog just started with milk fever a gave a small dose of women's 1 a day vitamin and evaporated milk plus a small drop of infants Tylenol within a hour or 2 she is doing so much better when she was fixing to knock at deaths door

    • Avatar Of Chris

      Chris

      says:

      My girl has just gone through it. She had calcium injections and an anti biotic injection. She is doing much better. Couldnt lose my Spaniel, she is a huge part of my life and would have broken my heart if anything had happened.

    • Avatar Of Yvonne Barraza

      Yvonne Barraza

      says:

      My miniture yorkie had shown some symptoms of shaking after having a liter. She has a brother with diabetes and I though her blood sugar was low. I had switched her to chicken breast and rice because I thought the protein was better for her. I was so wrong. Our yorkie is a member of our family. Our vet was wonderful. He injected her with calcium and at first it wasn’t working. To make a long story short: Ellie (our yorkie) was hospitalized one night and given more medication. Vet saved her life. I urge anyone with a loved canine if you ever have a doubt don’t wait please take your canine to the vet. Time is important. I feel very lucky we saved our Ellie. Ellie will not be able to nutse puppies but she made it!

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