Dogs

Dogs

ECLAMPSIA (MILK FEVER) IN BITCHES

 

(HYPOCALCAEMIA)

Eclampsia in bitches, also known as milk fever, is an acute life threatening disorder that is a result of low blood calcium due to heavy milk production in lactating bitches. This metabolic disease mainly affects smaller breeds of dogs and generally occurs when the puppies are 2-5 weeks of age. A poor diet with low calcium can predispose bitches to eclampsia and the use of calcium supplements during pregnancy can also increase the risk. Large litters may require supplemental feeding.

Signs of eclampsia include restlessness, nervousness, muscle spasms, high body temperature, limb rigidity, uncoordinated movements, panting, seizures and death. Eclampsia is fatal if untreated so it represents a medical emergency. Treatment involves administration of calcium , glucose and  lowering of body temperature. Eclampsia may  be prevented by weaning and handrearing the puppies once the crisis is over.

Do not use calcium supplements in the pregnant bitch and ensure she gets a high quality, balanced diet. The staff at Mudgee Veterinary Hospital can advise you on the best diet for your dog and the amount to feed, plus whether extra calcium is required after whelping.

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