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Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (Low Glucose) in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

How Hypoglycemia Affects Dogs

Hypoglycemic dogs typically exhibit symptoms of weakness, tiredness, exercise intolerance and lack of coordination. From reports made by people with this condition, it is safe to say that hypoglycemia at a minimum causes dogs to feel poorly and to be distressed and uncomfortable. Severe cases can cause the dog to suffer much more physical pain and no doubt emotional distress, as well. Seizures are one of the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemic dogs can display a range of symptoms. Sometimes, these are episodic, meaning that they come and go - or wax and wane - over time. Other times, the symptoms are persistent rather than intermittent. Owners of dogs with hypoglycemia may notice one or more of the following clinical signs in their pets:

  • Lethargy; listlessness
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination (ataxia)
  • Hind-end paresis (mild or incomplete paralysis of the rear legs; posterior paresis)
  • Staggering; wobbly gait
  • Muscle twitching; tremors (muscle fasciculations, especially of the facial muscles)
  • Nervousness; restlessness; anxiety
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Abnormal, bizarre behavior
  • Hunger; increased appetite
  • Poylphagia (excessive ingestion of food)
  • Weight gain
  • Formation and excretion of an abnormally large amount of urine (polyuria)
  • Excessive thirst and excessive water intake (polydipsia)
  • Vision abnormalities; blindness
  • Collapse; recumbency
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures (seizures are one of the hallmark signs of hypoglycemia in dogs; they tend to be episodic)
  • Coma; loss of consciousness
  • Persistent crying
  • Reduced activity level
  • Decreased nursing
  • Respiratory distress
  • Weight loss
  • Low heart rate (bradycardia)

Dogs at Increased Risk

Hunting dogs are predisposed to developing low blood sugar as a result of the extreme energy demands placed on them while they are working. Dogs with cancer, and those that are septic or pregnant, also tend to become hypoglycemic as a result of their unusually high energy demands. Young puppies and toy breeds are especially predisposed to developing hypoglycemia. They can become hypoglycemic within a matter of hours of fasting. They also can develop hypoglycemia from becoming excessively tired, stressed or chilled.

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