Any postpartum bitch presenting with tremors, muscle spasms, disorientation, stiffness and lack coordination during a period of heavy lactation should be presumed to be suffering from eclampsia. Eclampsia can be confirmed by measuring the concentration of calcium in the dog’s blood; if she has eclampsia, her circulating calcium levels will be abnormally low. Perhaps the best and most frequently used diagnostic tool is assessing the bitch’s response to intravenous calcium replacement therapy. Most veterinarians will start that treatment before they receive the results of any blood tests, especially if the bitch seems severely affected.
While eclampsia can be an extraordinarily dangerous condition, it is not difficult to treat if caught early. Most responsible breeders are sufficiently in-tune with their bitches that they are able to detect the onset of eclampsia in enough time to treat it successfully.