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Hypoglycemia - Dogs

Updated on August 27, 2010

 Canine hypoglycemia is a disorder that results when a dog's blood glucose level drops below normal. A normal canine blood glucose level ranges between 70 and 150 mg/dL. If a dog has been tested for hypoglycemia and the result falls below 50 mg/dL, the test is positive for canine hypoglycemia. Signs of canine hypoglycemia can sometimes go unnoticed, but symptoms include anxiety, collapsing, coma, depression, disorientation, drowsiness, seizures, shivering and weakness.

There are several reasons why a dog may become hypoglycemic, such as illness, lack of sugar in diet and over exercise. When a young dog or puppy has hypoglycemia, the cause of the hypoglycemia is more likely to be related to a separate illness, where as if an older dog is diagnosed, there is usually a problem related to the dog's pancreas. The type of illnesses that cause canine hypoglycemia can be a bacterial type infection, Diarrhea or stress as well as other common illnesses.

A dog living with diabetes mellitus can experience regular episodes of hypoglycemia. This is due to either giving a dog too much insulin in comparison to the food a dog will or has eaten or too much exercise, without enough food consumption compared against a safe blood glucose level. Heat can also cause hypoglycemia in a diabetic canine as heat has a direct influence on a bodies response towards blood sugar level management. Canine hypoglycemia can be fatal and oral glucose should be given to a diabetic insulin dependent dog, if hypoglycemic. It is very important to follow a vets advise as to blood sugar monitoring to aid against regular episodes of canine hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia in canines can be caused by transient juvenile hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a dog not eating. It is common to see this condition in smaller dogs, such as toy type breeds including Pomeranians, toy poodles, toy terriers and other similar breeds. This particular cause of canine hypoglycemia can also be diagnosed in puppies under sixteen weeks old and can be treated by the dog eating. Causes of transient juvenile hypoglycemia can be due to infections, premature birth, sudden change of food, drinking and exercise patterns, lack of nutrition and stress.

Addison's Disease (hypoadrenocorticism) occurs in dogs when the adrenal gland decreases corticosteroid secretion, and is a rare condition. This condition effects the way a dogs body would normally function, causing canine hypoglycemia through vomiting, anorexia and other symptoms of the disease. Addison's disease is more common in younger female dogs but effects both canine sexes at variable ages. Hypoadrenocorticism can be diagnosed with the ACTH test and the disease can be treated with medication such as Florinef (fludrocortisone).


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