Top Ten Dog Health Guides
Symptoms of Eclampsia in Dogs
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:
- Excessive salivation
- Ataxia (lack of coordination)
- Muscle tremors or spasms
- Tightening of facial muscles
- 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
- 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.