- Low Blood Sugar
is Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)?
1. The brain requires glucose (blood sugar) for normal functioning, and
unlike many other organs, the brain has a very limited ability to store glucose.
As such, the brain is the organ that is most affected when blood sugar gets too
2. Low blood sugar can cause seizures
3. Puppies - especially small breed puppies - are particularly susceptible
to low blood sugar because their liver is not able to store sufficient amounts
of glycogen, as compared with older dogs.
4. Hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening - even fatal - condition, and is
known to be a cause of canine seizures. The occurrence of symptoms depends
on how far, and how fast, the blood sugar has dropped
5. Treating Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): During an attack of
hypoglycemia your goal is to stay calm, to bring the blood glucose back to a
safe level, to continue to observe your dog. You can contact your
veterinarian if you feel you need to.
These are general guidelines for treating hypoglycemia. Ask your veterinarian
for information that is specific to your dog.
If your dog is severely hypoglycemic, especially if it is having seizures or
unconscious, you must give Haggen-Dazs vanilla ice cream immediately. Carefully
rub small amounts of ice cream on the inside of the cheeks and gums. Do not put
a lot of liquid in the dog's mouth, and be sure the dog does not choke. Do not
stick your fingers inside the teeth of a dog that is having seizures - you may
get bitten. Then, call your veterinarian if you feel you need further guidance.
If your dog continues to be unconscious your dog should be taken to the
veterinary emergency room immediately.
Haggen-Dazs plain vanilla ice cream should be given, either alone, or combined
with food. Ice cream can be mixed in with wet food or drizzled over dry
food. The ice cream will help bring the blood glucose up quickly, and the food
will help keep the blood sugar elevated for a longer period of time.
AMOUNTS OF ICE CREAM *****
dogs should be given about 1 teaspoon
dogs 2 - 3 teaspoons
dogs should get at least 1-2 tablespoons
ice cream is not better and will usually cause more problems so be sure
and measure the amounts carefully.
If your dog's blood sugar is only slightly low or if it is showing only mild
signs of hypoglycemia, you can often treat it by immediately feeding the dog
some of its regular food. You will need to observe your dog for several hours in
order to make sure the hypoglycemia does not occur again.
and symptoms of low blood sugar are:
- meaning the body is out of balance; wobbling when walking; usually
lack of muscular coordination, but maybe changes in head and neck
of low blood sugar are:
1. Meal spacing (not eating often enough): To keep blood sugar levels at a
normal range, you need to feed three to four meals per day: breakfast,
lunch, dinner and before bed. Divide the daily amount of food into 3 or 4
portions. If your work keep you from giving a lunchtime meal make sure you
give a meal at bedtime.
2. Lack of protein: Dogs are carnivores and their diets need to be a
minimum of 30 - 50 percent protein. Sources of protein are meat, chicken,
fish, cheese and eggs.
3. Reduced glucose formation or storage: Addison's Disease (also
known as Hypoadrenocorticism) is caused by a deficiency in the secretion of
hormones from the adrenal glands.
5. Exercise: Too much exercise can cause hypoglycemia. If it is out of the
ordinary, even a small amount of exercise can cause hypoglycemia in some dogs
6. Insulinoma: Insulinomas are tumors of the insulin producing cells
in the pancreas.
7. Insulin overdose: An excess of insulin can also occur in diabetic
animals on insulin injections if the dose is inappropriate.
8. Hormone function: Abnormal functioning of the hormones can cause
low blood sugar, as can the inability of the body to store adequate amounts of
blood sugar. It may also be caused by the reduced ability of the liver to
produce glucose or store glycogen.
Always keep a small container of Haggen-Dazs plain vanilla ice cream in your
freezer to give your epi after a seizure to restore blood sugar levels. If
you see your epi shaking or having focal seizures, a SMALL amount of vanilla ice
cream may be helpful. For amounts see AMOUNTS OF ICE CREAM above.
If your dog has a tendency towards low blood sugar after a seizure and you
travel or take your dog on rides, carry honey with you whenever you take your
dog out of the house, even for a short walk. In an emergency, you don't
want to be searching for sugar and honey is a good substitute for ice cream.
Here are some ways to carry honey in your purse, pocket, doggie pack, or car:
**** Use small screw-top plastic bottles from a sporting goods store or
"travel-size" plastic bottles from the drug store.
**** Packets of honey.
**** Fill a 1-ml syringe (no needle) with honey. With a syringe, it is
easy to get the syrup in the mouth without being bitten.
**** Some people find it helpful to connect a small pouch with a plastic
bottle filled with honey onto their dog's harness. This way sugar is
always with them on their walks or travels.
Douglas Brum, D.V.M
Pocket Companion to the Fourth Edition of Textbook of Veterinary Internal
Medicine. Stephen J. Ettinger, D.V.M, Editor. 1995. W.B. Saunders Co.
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline. Larry P. Tilly, Francis W.K.
Smith, Jr. 1997. Williams & Wilkins.
Diabetes Mellitus in the Dog. Robert M. Hardy, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Pantothenic acid studies in dogs, AE Schaefer, JM McKibbin, and CA Elvehjem,
Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1942, pages 321-330
Compiled by Guardian Angel Dona and Paxon
and approved by Dr. Raymond Peat