Treating Low Blood Sugar In Dogs: Symptoms and Causes Of Hypoglycemia

December 29, 2010 | Healthy Dog | Leave a Comment |

What is Blood Sugar?

  • This is the concentration of glucose in the blood
  • Glucose is important to health because it gives energy to the cells
  • Blood sugar levels can drop as a result of diabetes and other conditions
  • Normal levels for blood sugar in dogs are the same in humans and are between 75 mg/dl to 120 mg/dl.
  • Blood sugar levels that are constantly below 80 mg/dl should be investigated on further

Causes of Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

  • Diabetes ??” a form of this condition creates insulin tolerance in dogs.
    This leads to a decrease in blood sugar levels
  • Excessive effects of certain drugs (beta blockers, oral diabetic medication)
  • Secretion issues in the endocrine system

Diagnosis

  • Fasting Blood Test ??” This checks out the blood sugar levels of the body after hours of not eating
  • Spot Blood Sugar Test
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Low Blood Sugar in Dogs Symptoms

  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness
  • Pallor ??” observed in the mucosa and causes pale gums
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability
  • Abnormal Mentation ??” Some dogs may show signs of aggression
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Lethargy

Low blood sugar can also cause coma and abnormal breathing known as Kussmaul Breathing.

How to Treat Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

  • Honey or sugar ??” Given to dogs that are experiencing an acute case of hypoglycemia, it is ideal to introduce the honey or sugar to the underside of the tongue
  • Insulin dosage monitoring and control ??” Dogs who are given insulin to control blood sugar should be monitored before they are given their blood sugar medication. When blood sugar levels are too low, insulin dose for that time should be skipped.

It is important to take dogs with low blood sugar to the vet in order to remedy the situation and to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Related Reading:

What is Hypoglycemia?

  • It is the presence of low glucose levels in dogs
  • It commonly occurs in dogs that have problems with glucose absorption, like in dogs with diabetes.
  • If left untreated, it can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, or even death.
  • It can also occur in non-diabetic dogs
  • The normal blood glucose in dogs is between 75 mg/dl to 120 mg/dl ??” anything above or less than that is going to lead to hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, respectively.

Diagnosis

This condition is diagnosed by taking the dog’s blood sugar levels. Physical exam and medical history taking may also be conducted.

Symptoms of Low Glucose in Dogs

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleepiness
  • Lack of responsiveness
  • Seizure
  • Aggression ??” This occurs in some dogs who are confused or irritated by the other symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Treatment of Low Glucose in Dogs

Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia involves the introduction of sugar or honey.

  • Rub sugar or honey under the dog’s tongue. There are a lot of blood vessels in this area and the sugar or honey is going to be absorbed quicker.
  • Take the dog to the vet ??” this is especially true if this is the first time an attack of hypoglycemia has happened

Maintenance treatments may be prescribed to dogs with diabetes.

  • Medication ??” to help regulate the condition
  • Insulin injections ??” given to help regulate blood sugar levels
  • Dietary changes ??” controlling glucose in food intake; frequent small meals may also help keep hypoglycemia in check.

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