Hypoglycemia Chihuahuas & Toy Breed Dogs

Part of responsible pet ownership includes knowledge and appropriate care of your toy breed chihuahua puppy at every stage of its life. If you own a puppy under three months (12 weeks and under), especially a small or toy breed dog such as a Chihuahua, you need to be aware of HYPOGLYCEMIA and how to recognize the signs. This is one of the reasons we let our chihuahua puppies go only when we feel they have gained appropriate mass and are eating well on their own.

HYPOGLYCEMIA – literally translates to “low blood sugar”. When a dogs glucose levels (blood sugar) drop too low, inadequate supply of glucose to the brain can cause serious symptoms and even result in death if not addressed or caught early on. Since extremely small dogs such as chihuahua puppies have low body fat and mass, they lack the ability to store glucose in the body sufficiently. The liver is responsible for the production of glucose and is supplied to the body as needed. Young dogs do not have a fully developed liver and therefore lack the ability to perform gluconeogenesis (make glucose) sufficiently to supply the brain if not feed frequent. As a result, even fairly short periods of fasting can cause puppies to become hypoglycemic. Since the brain solely requires glucose to function, it is crucial levels are kept consistent.

What are the common causes of hypoglycemia in chihuahuas?

  • In puppies and small dogs, receiving inadequate and steady amounts of food and/or low protein, carbohydrates and nutritional content in food
  • Feedings too infrequent / spaced to far apart / skipping meals
  • Poor appetite as a result of stress, depression, previous illness or infection, vaccinations or dehydration

Recognizing the Symptoms and early detection of hypoglycemia

Should your chihuahua or small dog exhibit any symptoms out of the ordinary, please address it immediately and do not wait. This condition can quickly escalate and result in permanent brain damage and death with in a matter of hours.

  • staggering gait, wobbly when walking
  • muscular weakness, inability to hold its head up
  • unusual or prolonged fatigue, drowsiness
  • unresponsiveness when his name called or to his meals
  • unable to get up to use the bathroom
  • muscular twitching especially around the face and eyes
  • locked jaw
  • mild or complete paralysis of the rear legs
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness, coma

Prevention of hypoglycemia

Puppies and toy breeds should be fed frequently through out the day. Always allow fresh water and a supply of food. If you are traveling, be sure come prepared (read traveling with your canine companion for more travel tips) Your puppies diet should be high in complex carbohydrates, high-quality proteins and fat. Take a small quantity of honey, corn syrup or nutri-cal and mix it in with their food or water bowl to be on the safe side.

Treatment of hypoglycemia

Stop hypoglycemia from escalating in chihuahuas by treating IMMEDIATELY. On the first sign of ANY type of lethargy or disinterest towards his food, rub a small dollop of honey, corn syrup nutri-cal on his gum and noose. Your puppy should lick it up immediately. If your dog does not, and his jaw is locked, set him up right, gently pry open his mouth and place it inside. Chihuahuas that have gone hypoglycemic if treated early will likely recover in a couple of hours. Repeat hourly, should the condition worsen, or not improve, seek Veterinary Assistance asap. If your chihuahua cannot eat on its own, the Vet will likely administer intravenous fluids, electrolytes and regulate your puppies blood sugar levels. Prognosis depends on the severity of the case. Detected early, prognosis is very good. If you have found you dog in a severe condition or unconscious, (which SHOULD NOT happen as you should be providing thorough and complete care 24/7 of your new puppy) prognosis is fair to bad and may result in permanent brain damage to your chihuahua.

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