CVMA | Documents | Canine Eclampsia (Low Calcium)

Canine Eclampsia (Low Calcium)

December 7, 2012

Female dogs that have recently given birth can suffer from eclampsia or low calcium levels (hypocalcemia). The most likely time to see this condition develop in a mother dog is seven to 24 days after birth, but the condition can develop before birth, or may have a delayed onset and develop when the mother is getting ready to wean her pups. Canine eclampsia can be a very serious, life-threatening condition if left untreated or if treatment is delayed. Sometimes it is fatal.

Here are the signs you should look for:

  • High temperature
  • Pacing
  • Restless, whining attitude
  • Walking with a stiff gait
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Shaky or rigid muscles, and sometimes an inability to get up or walk about
  • Ignoring the puppies

Small breed females, and females having their first litter are at highest risk, although eclampsia may also be triggered by giving calcium supplements during pregnancy.

If your veterinarian suspects eclampsia, the blood calcium level will be checked and a blood sample will also be screened for other abnormal findings such as magnesium or sugar deficiencies.

It is hard for the female to continue nursing with this condition, so the puppies will be given some milk replacement. In addition, the mother dog will require very close monitoring and intensive treatment for a short while!

If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from eclampsia, bring the female and her puppies to the veterinarian right away. Delaying treatment is dangerous.