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What New Puppy Owners Must Know about Hypoglycemia
Teacup Yorkshire Terrier Hypoglycemia -
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a common problem with all toy breed puppies including the Yorkshire Terrier.
Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar, which is a condition in which there is a drastic, sudden drop in the level of blood sugar in the puppy. In small breed puppies from post-weaning to 4 month of age, the most common form of hypoglycemia is called Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia: “Transient” because the symptoms can be reversed by eating; "Juvenile" because it is seen in young puppies. Veterinarians unfamiliar with toys often mis-diagnose the condition as viral hepatitis or encephalitis. As a toy yorkie breeder or pet owner, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but fatal if allowed to progress. Many puppies are lost needlessly to hypoglycemia because of ignorance on the part of their owner or veterinarian.
It is important to understand that just because a puppy has an episode of hypoglycemia, it does not mean that the puppy is truly "hypoglycemic." True hypoglycemia is a chronic condition caused by overproduction of insulin by the pancreas. Even though the pancreas may normally function properly, toy puppies can still have an isolated hypoglycemic incident in reaction to stress or fasting. Pups of any breed are more likely to develop hypoglycemia than adults, because their skeletal muscle mass and liver size are smaller and brain size, larger, in proportion to the rest of their body. Therefore, there is less glucose being put out into the blood and more being used by the brain, which is dependent upon adequate glucose in order to function. In small and toy breeds, this discrepancy is more pronounced. Even a brief period of fasting or stress in a toy breed puppy can trigger a hypoglycemic "attack. Yorkie puppies with Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia have normal liver size and function, but inadequate glucose precursors or glucose in its stored form (body fat). Hypoglycemic incidents are almost always preceded by a stress of some kind. Some examples of common stresses include: weaning, teething, vaccinations, a change in environment, shipping, over-handling, cold temperatures, intestinal parasites, infections, anorexia, etc. Many yorkie puppies simply play too hard and stress their system or forget to eat. I have heard of young males experiencing hypoglycemia when a female in heat is around. They become so worked up over the female that they do not eat and their blood sugar drops.
The first sign of hypoglycemia is the yorkshire terrier puppy slowing down and then acting listless. The puppy will then begin to tremble or shiver. This is a reaction caused as the brain is starved for glucose. More signs of an attack are a weakness, confusion, wobbly gait, frothing or drooling from the mouth - sometimes even a seizure and drain of blood from the head. His body will be limp, lifeless, and a check of the gums will show them to be pale, almost a grayish white in color rather than a healthy bright pink.. The body temperature will be subnormal. After a time, the puppy will become comatose and may even appear to be dead. The puppy can go into shock and, if not cared for properly and promptly, may even die.
If Yorkie hypoglycemia is caught in the early stages, rub Nutri-Cal (Caro syrup will do if you have no Nutri-Cal) on the puppy's gums, under the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Get a heating pad or heating blanket and slowly warm the puppy to proper body temperature. If the puppy responds, all is well. Feed a quality, canned food containing, high-carbohydrates and protein right away (you may want to mix it with egg yolk) and then monitor the puppy to be sure that the condition does not recur. Be sure to eliminate the stress that caused the episode if at all possible.
If Yorkie hypoglycemia is caught in the more advanced stages, rub Nutri-Cal or Caro in the mouth, and carefully insert a small amount in the rectum. Slowly warm the puppy to normal body temperature (101-102 degrees F) and keep him warm continuously with light heat. If the yorkie puppy still does not respond, carefully eye dropper dextrose solution or Caro water into the mouth, a little at a time only if the dog can swallow. Call your veterinarian immediately and inform him that you have a hypoglycemic yorkie puppy.
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