Symptoms of Eclampsia in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Puerperal Hypocalcemia

Symptoms of Eclampsia

The symptoms of eclampsia come on suddenly and progress quickly in a healthy, lactating bitch with a thriving litter. The symptoms can be subtle at first and resemble those seen before whelping, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Panting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination)
  • Muscle tremors or spasms
  • Shaking
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Tightening of facial muscles
  • Stiffness
  • Aggression
  • Hypersensitivity to touch or other stimuli
  • Continuous, steady muscle spasms without distinct twitching (called “tetany”) Tetany usually presents as rigidity in the legs, unusual pricking of the ears and/or flaring of the nostrils. The signs of eclampsia can advance to where the dog begins to walk in an abnormal, stilted manner and may seem unable to walk in a specific direction.
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness (pruritis)
  • Head rubbing
  • Biting at the feet
  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased water intake
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased body temperature (hyperthermia)

If eclampsia is not treated immediately, it will become life-threatening. Respiration eventually becomes compromised, heart arrhythmias develop and the bitch’s condition deteriorates to seizures, paralysis, coma and death.

Dogs at Increased Risk

Eclampsia is diagnosed most frequently in young, small-breed dogs that have given birth to large litters within the prior 2 to 4 weeks, although any age or breed of lactating bitch can be affected. Eclampsia is especially common in toy breeds. The condition also may occur in dogs that go through a particularly difficult or prolonged labor. Risk factors include large litter size, poor nutrition during gestation, stress, underlying systemic illness and excessive calcium supplementation during pregnancy.

Dog Health Center

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Learn about Hip Dysplasia, including how it can affect your dog, and what options are available to manage this type of joint condition.

Learn more about: Hip Dysplasia