Eclampsia in Dogs

Postpartum Low Blood Calcium in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Mouth Salivation / Seizures / Shaking / Vomiting

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Rated as moderate conditon

26 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Lethargy / Mouth Salivation / Seizures / Shaking / Vomiting

Postpartum Low Blood Calcium in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Eclampsia?

Eclampsia (also referred to as milk fever and hypocalcemia) refers to a drop in calcium levels of the blood in nursing mother dogs. This is caused when the parathyroid gland (the gland responsible for controlling calcium levels) is not active enough. It most commonly occurs one to five weeks after giving birth, which is a peak in the lactation cycle. In some cases, eclampsia can occur during birth, giving way to possible complications. Eclampsia is such a problem in nursing mothers because the body is unable to keep up with the calcium being taken from the mother’s body to provide for the young. This condition is more commonly seen when there is a large litter. It is also more likely in small breeds, specifically affecting English setters, Italian Spinone, Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Shih-Tzus, miniature poodles, and Mexican hairless dogs, though the can condition can develop for any dog.

Eclampsia is a condition in nursing mothers where calcium levels in the bloodstream drop. While eclampsia is most common after giving birth, it can also occur before birth and while giving birth. Eclampsia is caused when there is more calcium being taken through the lactation process than the mother has in her body and is receiving through her diet. This is typically caused by poor diet and large litters. Some symptoms include tremors, weakness, hyperthermia, and others, up to and including death. Eclampsia is treated by IV administration of calcium; symptoms may require separate treatment as well.

Symptoms of Eclampsia in Dogs

Eclampsia is an emergency condition and animals that exhibit symptoms should be relieved from nursing, and the vet contacted immediately. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition.

  • Tremors

  • Weakness
  • Puerperal Tetany – a form of paralysis associated with eclampsia in which the dog has stiff limbs and struggles to stand or walk
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Changes in the way they move
  • Changes in behavior
  • Salivation
  • Sensitivity
  • Confusion
  • Hyperthermia – increased body temperature
  • Seizures, which can lead to cerebral edema (swelling of the brain caused by excess fluid)
  • Tachycardia – an abnormally rapid heart rate
  • Polyuria – excessive urination
  • Polydipsia – excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Death
Types

While eclampsia normally occurs after the dog has given birth, it is possible for the condition to develop at different stages in the pregnancy:

  • Prepartum

    - Symptoms of eclampsia may begin to appear before birthing occurs. Mild eclampsia may reduce the effectiveness of myometrial contractions, which in turn induces uterine contractions.

  • Parturition

    - It is possible for symptoms of eclampsia to appear during the actual birthing process. If the eclampsia is mild in severity, it may slow the labor’s progression without exhibiting any other symptoms.

  • Postpartum

    - Postpartum eclampsia is most common in the first five weeks after birth, when lactation is at its peak. This is because the mother’s body is unable to keep up with the calcium it is providing to the offspring.

Causes of Eclampsia in Dogs

Eclampsia is most common in smaller breeds of dogs and instances where there is a large litter, or the puppies are larger. Eclampsia is ultimately caused by the mother giving out more calcium through the lactation cycle than she has in her body. Possible reasons to this calcium deficit include:

  • Loss of calcium from the mother’s body into the milk used to nurse the young
  • Insufficient calcium quantities in the diet
  • Greater demands for lactation caused by larger puppies or a large litter, especially if the mother is smaller in size

Diagnosis of Eclampsia in Dogs

Any historical data that you can provide your veterinarian leading up to the onset of the symptoms can aid in diagnosis. In addition to listening to the insight you have to offer, your veterinarian will likely look at the following to come to a conclusion:

  • Physical exam
  • Serum chemistry profile
  • Test of pretreatment total serum calcium concentration, which is verified by a blood test. If your dog has a concentration less than 7 mg/dL, an eclampsia diagnosis can be confirmed.
  • Electrocardiogram

Your veterinarian will also want to rule out other conditions that could cause symptoms similar to eclampsia. These include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), conditions caused by poisons/toxins, and neurological disorders that may cause seizures
  • Metritis (inflamed uterine wall) and mastitis (inflamed mammary gland), which may cause irritability and increased body temperature
  • Hypoparathyroidism (deficit of parathyroid hormone in the blood), in instances where there are small amounts of serum PTH
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Treatment of Eclampsia in Dogs

  • IV calcium treatment will begin immediately (this must be done slowly to avoid toxicity). After 15 to 20 minutes, rapid improvement in symptoms typically occurs, as well as almost immediate relaxation of the muscles.
  • Monitoring of heart rate during calcium administration by means of auscultation (listening with a stethoscope) or electrocardiogram so that any bradycardia (slow heart activity) or arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) are caught.
  • Anti-seizure drugs, in some dogs
  • Treatment for cerebral edema increased body temperature, and low blood sugar will be completed if these symptoms are present. In cases where cerebral edema occurs, it is possible that the dog will be unresponsive after treatment for eclampsia has concluded.

Recovery of Eclampsia in Dogs

Post-treatment recovery and management is dependent on the severity of the condition and other symptoms present. The affected mother should not nurse her puppies for 12 to 24 hours after treatment. During this time, the offspring should be provided a milk substitute or other appropriate nutritional replacements. If the offspring are old enough to be weaned, they should be.

If the mother returns to nursing and muscle spasms or other symptoms return, the litter should no longer nurse from the mother. If they are under four weeks, they will need to be provided milk supplements or other appropriate nutritional replacements. If the litter is over four weeks, they are able to be weaned from the mother. The dog will be provided oral calcium supplements for the remainder of the lactation cycle. Other therapies for improvement and maintenance include oral vitamin D and calcium supplementation, which will take 1-4 days to show any change. Postpartum eclampsia is likely to recur with future pregnancies though the following preventative steps can be taken: nutritionally balanced and appropriate diet through pregnancy and lactation, feeding and watering as often as desired during lactation, supplementing lactation with milk replacer early on and solid food after 3 to 4 weeks.

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Eclampsia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $350 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Eclampsia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chloe

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ShihTzu

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Hi, my dog just gave birth to 3 puppiea last two weeks. Then i notice that her tmy where her tits are is hot.she eats and drinks water but not gaining weights.and just now she vomited

July 22, 2018

Chloe's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is possible that Chloe has mastitis which is an inflammation of the mammary glands, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to confirm and to discuss treatment. Without examining Chloe I cannot say what the cause is for certain so it would be best to pop into your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 23, 2018

dog-name-icon

Chloe

dog-breed-icon

ShihTzu

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Hi, my shih tzu got her puppies 2 weeks ago and her tummy where her breast is, is hot, she eats she drinks water but not gaining weights. And just now she vomited twice. And when her pups are crying sometimes she would just cry and hide.

July 22, 2018

Chloe's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is possible that Chloe has mastitis which is an inflammation of the mammary glands, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to confirm and to discuss treatment. Without examining Chloe I cannot say what the cause is for certain so it would be best to pop into your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 23, 2018

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kelly

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Siberian Husky

dog-age-icon

20 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Blood

what seems to be the condition of my dog? her name is kelly, she is experiencing seizure-like condition., a week ago, her nose bleeds, and yesterday. she cant stand and doesnt eat at all., what should i do? she gave birth to 3 lovely puppies a month ago.

July 3, 2018

kelly's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Apart from the nosebleed, the symptoms do fit with eclampsia and you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to confirm whether this is the case and to treat accordingly; Kelly is around the right time after whelping for eclampsia symptoms to present. I wouldn’t recommend supplementing her at home without confirming as this may lead to more serious symptoms. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 3, 2018

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shiishii

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

2 Days

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limb Weakness Upper Limb Jerking

my baby is a shitzhu about 2 yrs old. she just gave birth to 7 puppies. today morning i saw her near the door with all spilled water on her limb that she tried to drink. i noticed that she cant stand up.her upper limbs are shaking/jerking. her nose was so dry and tongue is dry and out. shes hardly breathing. im confused.. she not even drinking water even Giving it by syringe. im not sure if she had the jerking first that caused her weakness then plus the hypothermia coz of water spilled all over her with ac on.

June 30, 2018

shiishii's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

ShiShi may be having a problem with her calcium, and she needs to see a veterinarian right away. They will be able to do any testing that she needs and get her treatment so that she is okay. You can take the puppies with her in a little basket when you go.

June 30, 2018

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Bruno

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Problem Walking

My dog is suffering from calcium deficiency and he now he is being treated and is better now. Just wanted to ask that he has problem in walking due to this so how much should he walk on a daily basis? Is it good for him to walk in morning and evening or should he take rest?

June 15, 2018

Bruno's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If Bruno is now having trouble walking, you should have him evaluated by your Veterinarian since there are different bones and joints which may be affected leading to the change in gait. Without knowing which specific issues have been caused by the calcium deficiency and the severity I cannot give you any specific advice; you should return to your Veterinarian for a discussion on exercise based on this current gait. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 16, 2018

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Luna

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Panting
Weak Pulse
Weak Bladder

It has been 6 days since she gave birth, but she acts so weak and pants very often. She also vomits the food we give her. She discharged blood from her vagina just now. I just want to know if she's alright, I am so nervous and confused. I can't convince my mom to take her to the vet. Please help me.

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Cowcow

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Nervous
Agitated
Confusion
Jumpy
Jumping Up And Running Around

Strange behavior. She got pregnant her first heat and had 4 pups 2 days ago. She didn't leave the whelping box for the first 2 days. Now she jumped up and is acting very agitated. She is searching around and panting and looking around.. She finally went potty after the first day but she seems to be somewhat confused. I'm concerned because this just started after two days and I am unsure what it means.

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Chichay

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Labrador Retriever

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4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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-1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Panting

I have a labrador retriever just gave birth to 6 puppies more than a week now. Just this morning she vomited all she ate the night before then she stop eating and drinking water. for the whole day she vomits bile around 4x already, and shes panting. Then as i was browsing i stumbled on this site and found out that maybe my dog have eclampsia. Need your advise please. Thank you

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Mini

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

Our sweet dog gave birth to 7 puppies the beginning of March. At the end of March, she had a seizure. The vet checked her calcium and it was low normal. She was put on a calcium supplement and no nursing for 24 hours. After 24 hours, she could start nursing as long as there were no more episodes. We continued to help with the feedings (bottle) to lighten her load a bit. She had no issues. At week 8 the vet told us to stop the calcium. Puppies started going home at week 8 and continued til about week 9.5 and one stayed with us. During this time, they still tried to nurse on her. At 10.5 post whelping, momma had another seizure. This one was longer. Our new vet ran bloodwork (CBC) about an hour and half after and all was normal. We also had her run Thyroid in-house and it was normal as well. She never had issues before. Could this be whelping related? Still eclampsia? Another side note - we had her on Simparica since October - could this be a possible cause? Since then - about 3 weeks now - no issues as of yet. We have stopped flea & tick meds to be on the safe side but continue heart worm protection. Any insight would be great.

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Ruby

dog-breed-icon

Pughasa

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Shivering
Panting
Heavy Breathing
Restlessness

Ruby gave birth to four puppies 30 hours ago, only one survived as the rest had birth defects. She is older so this was to be expected. The pregnancy was a surprise, we only found out three days before she went into labour. Since we came home she has been panting excessively, shaking and whining and I'm worried she may have eclampsia. She has not been resting as much as she should be, but otherwise she has been eating and drinking a lot and walks normally when I bring her out to pee. She panted this heavily throughout her labour and I imagined it would stop soon after whelping but it is constant. How long should I wait before bringing her to see the vet? Should I separate the pup from her teat?

Eclampsia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $350 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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