Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy


or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Low Blood Sugar in Dogs

Hypoglycemia in Dogs

 

The medical term for critically low levels of sugar in the blood is hypoglycemia, and it is often linked to diabetes and an overdose of insulin. The blood sugar, or glucose, is a main energy of source in an animal's body, so a low amount will result in a severe decrease in energy levels, possibly to the point of loss of consciousness.

 

There are conditions other than diabetes that can also cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous levels in dogs. In most animals, hypoglycemia is actually not a disease in and of itself, but is only an indication of another underlying health problem.

 

The brain actually needs a steady supply of glucose in order to function properly, as it does not store and create glucose itself. When glucose levels drop to a dangerously low level, a condition of hypoglycemia takes place. This is a dangerous health condition and needs to be treated quickly and appropriately. If you suspect hypoglycemia, especially if your dog is disposed to this condition, you will need to treat the condition quickly before it becomes life threatening.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Increased hunger
  • Visual instability, such as blurred vision
  • Disorientation and confusion – may show an apparent inability to complete basic routine tasks
  • Weakness, low energy, loss of consciousness
  • Seizures (rare)
  • Anxiety, restlessness
  • Tremor/shivering
  • Heart palpitations

 

These symptoms may not be specific to hypoglycemia, there can be other possible underlying medical causes. The best way to determine hypoglycemia if by having the blood sugar level measured while the symptoms are apparent.

 

Causes

 

There may be several causes for hypoglycemia, but the most common is the side effects caused by drugs that are being used to treat diabetes. Dogs with diabetes are given insulin to help control the condition, but an overdose of insulin, or higher does of insulin given when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, can cause the body to process too much glucose, decreasing the levels of glucose in the blood to levels that are too low for the body's needs. This is when a state of hypoglycemia may occur, and if it is not treated quickly, the brain may be damaged irreparably, leading to death.

 

 

Diagnosis

 

If you notice any of the symptoms of hypoglycemia in your dog, it is advisable to see a veterinarian immediately. If your dog has already lost consciousness, or is visibly at the point of collapsing, you will need to call your veterinarian for instructions on immediate at-home treatment, followed by a visit with the doctor.

 

Even if you are able to treat your dog at home during the episode of hypoglycemia, you will still need to see your veterinarian so that blood work can be done. Your veterinarian will need to do a complete blood profile, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, recent diet and any medications you have been giving to your dog.

 

 

Related Articles

Diabetes with Coma in Dogs
In the case of diabetes mellitus, the pancreas is not capable of making enough insulin....
READ MORE
Inflammation of the Pancreas in Dogs
The pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system, which is integral for...
READ MORE
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes mellitus is a diseased state by which the body suffers from either an absolute...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search dog Articles

 

Latest In Dog Nutrition

Does My Senior Dog Need Special Dog Food?
Whether or not your senior dog needs special dog food depends, to a large extent,...
READ MORE
Five Life-Lengthening Health Tips for Your ...
Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a...
READ MORE
The Role of Exercise in Pet Weight Loss
Exercise is beneficial for our pets in many ways, including weight loss, and here's...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM