Hypoglycemia in Yorkies
Anyone who is considering adopting a Yorkie puppy, especially a tiny teacup Yorkie puppy, absolutely must be aware of hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia in Yorkshire terrier puppies is very serious and can be fatal! The good news is hypoglycemia is 100% preventable. Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a condition where the blood sugar level of a Yorkie puppy drops to an extremely low level, usually due to lack of food, or by using up all stored energy without it being replenished, playing/running for extended periods. Hypoglycemia is completely preventable, it is much easier and cheaper to prevent hypoglycemia than to treat it. When you first bring your Yorkie puppy home, I strongly advise you to give your Yorkie a high-protein, palatable meal. Make sure your Yorkie puppy eats every 3-4 hours, even if it is a small amount, and even if you have to hand feed your Yorkie puppy. If your puppy seems lethargic, overly sleepy, refuses to eat or drink, has pale gums, or when you pinch the scruff of your puppy’s neck and it stays tented (count in seconds) 1-2 mild dehydration, 3-4 seconds severe, 5 or more second life-threatening dehydration. If any sign of dehydration you must act immediately. Mild to moderate dehydration can be treated at home by syringing at least 5-10 ml of water every 3 hours. Life-threatening dehydration must be treated at a vet with IV fluids. If your puppy is showing signs of hypoglycemia offer your Yorkie puppy a small amount of stage 2 meat-based Gerber baby food gently warmed. If your puppy refuses to eat the baby food syringe some in a syringe and force-feed your puppy. Give your puppy at least 10-15 ml and then continue to syringe every 2-3 hrs for the next 48-72 until your puppy begins to start eating on its own. After a severe sugar drop rebound, sugar drops are extremely common so it’s very important to monitor your puppy VERY closely and ensure they are eating in which I advise you to continue to syringe your puppy to make sure you physically know they’ve eaten. If he/she doesn't eat, please call me right away so I can advise you and we will make certain your Yorkie does not become hypoglycemic/or fall into a diabetic coma. Nutri-cal or Nutri-stat paste is wonderful for preventing hypoglycemia. I recommend using it 3-5 times a day, especially first thing in the morning, after playtime, and before bed. Just squeeze about 1/2 of an inch of paste on your finger and rub it on the roof of your Yorkies' mouth. Nutri-cal and Nutri-stat can be found at most pet stores.
BEING PREPARED If you are buying a small breed puppy you need to know about the risks of Hypoglycemia. Small puppies less than 6 months are prone to hypoglycemia because they have such tiny digestive systems and can only store a little bit of food (energy) in their bodies at one time. Hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening, even fatal condition. First, your puppy must be eating well. If your puppy is not eating his dry puppy food give him can food, cooked chicken or beef, or even meat baby food. Keep dry dog food out for him/her at ALL times. Puppies can stress from leaving the only home they know and their littermates so they sometimes will not eat right away. Your puppy can not go hours without eating. Second, too much play over a long period isn’t good for smaller puppies. They lose their energy very fast and that can cause low blood sugar. Small puppies must replenish their energy more frequently than larger pups! Play with your puppy for a short time, and then let them rest. Tiny puppies tire easily, so be careful not to over-tire them. A puppy may play so much that it gets too tired to eat. Third, it is up to you as the owner to be responsible and see that your puppy is eating several times a day and getting enough rest. The most important rule is always to have fresh food and water available for your puppy at all times and be sure you see them eat! It is not a good idea to show your new baby off too much when it first arrives, handle them for long periods, or travel with your puppy until they get older. It is also not recommended that your new puppy be left alone the first couple of days after arriving at their new home. During the first six months, it is also not recommended that your puppy be left for longer than 4 hours. When no one is home a puppy will not eat on their own. These are babies and must be treated as such. Remember your puppy can not go for a long period without food!
Signs of Hypoglycemia in Yorkie Puppies
Please call me immediately if your Yorkie has any signs of hypoglycemia, or if you even THINK your Yorkie may have hypoglycemia. You can call me at any hour of the night. Yes, that means call at 2 am! I am here for you 100%. A Yorkie puppy experiencing hypoglycemia is very scary and may exhibit one or more of the following signs:
1. The gums of a normal Yorkie puppy will be bright dark pink or pink just like human gums. Pale gums (whitish spots) or very light pink may indicate that your Yorkies' blood sugar is dropping. White gums, your Yorkie puppy needs quick attention to avoid hypoglycemia which can cause a diabetic coma.
When the Yorkshire terrier puppy's gums are pale pink or pink in spots you may give your Yorkie Nutri-cal to restore your puppy's blood sugar. If you do not have Nutri-cal on hand, you can use Karo's syrup, honey, pancake syrup, or sugar to raise your Yorkie puppy's sugar level.
2. Another sign that may be seen if your puppy has low blood sugar or hasn’t eaten is vomiting yellow or clear bile. Foamy saliva may also appear in your puppy’s mouth. These symptoms usually go hand in hand with your Yorkie puppy not eating for a while. If you need to give your Yorkie Nutri-cal, then a protein-based food as fast as possible.
3. More signs are: acting lethargic, walking unsteadily as if they were drunk, falling over, shakiness, shivering like they are cold, and even laying on their side and being unresponsive. This is an EMERGENCY and your Yorkie must be given some type of sugar immediately! Even in an emergency and you're taking your puppy to an emergency vet PLEASE give some type of sugar before leaving to prevent the possibility of a seizure on the way to the vet.
After giving a form of sugar such as Karos syrup, wrap your Yorkie in a blanket to keep them warm, or place your puppy on a warm heating pad which helps conserve energy and helps prevent your puppy’s sugar from declining further. If a heating pad or electric blanket is available, set it to low and use it to help warm up your Yorkie puppy. Wait 5 or 10 minutes for your Yorkie to perk up. If there is no improvement, administer more sugar. When your Yorkie puppy perks up give them a protein-based meal so their blood sugar can start to regulate. Without high-protein food to stable glucose, your puppy’s glucose levels will continue to bottom out again.
EMERGENCY SITUATION: Take your Yorkie puppy to a vet immediately if you see no signs of improvement or responsiveness, or if your Yorkshire puppy appears comatose. Rush to the vet for a glucose injection or an I.V. to save their life!
Causes of Hypoglycemia
1. Over-handling your new Yorkie puppy and not allowing them to get enough rest. I know how it is when you get a new teacup Yorkie puppy and you just want to play with them, but please keep in mind that they are babies and need lots of sleep.
2. A puppy that does not receive enough nutrition. Just because your tiny puppy has a bowl of food, does not mean they are eating. It is not uncommon for a new Yorkie puppy to forget where its food is if they have run out of the house. Make sure you see your Yorkie eating their food. Often when a puppy is left alone puppy will not eat. Puppies need human stimulation to eat so it’s extremely vital for the first couple of weeks that your puppy should not be left alone for longer than 3-4 hrs at a time until they are settled into their new home.
3. Stress of moving to a new home. Please pay very close attention to your new Yorkie puppy when you take them home. It is quite a transition for them. They have just left their mother and littermates. Most of the time they will be fine, but some will become stressed and stop eating.
4. Changing your puppy’s food can cause diarrhea, resulting in dehydration which then causes hypoglycemia.
Tips for Preventing Hypoglycemia in Yorkies
1. Put a few Honey Nut Cheerios in your Yorkie's food bowl or give them as a treat. The sugar on the cereal helps keep their sugar level up. Also, add a few sprinkles of sugar to their food or water.
2. Feed your Yorkie a palatable meal. If your puppy doesn't like their food, they are less likely to eat it. In the event of suspected or actual sugar drop offer something they wouldn’t refuse chicken breast, turkey, hot dog, scrambled eggs something high in protein, or Gerber baby food.
3. Give a small amount of Karo syrup a couple of times a day with an oral syringe or Nutra-cal to help prevent hypoglycemia this is a must for your new Yorkie puppy!
Signs of Hypoglycemia: Lethargy (lack of energy)Weakness, Head Tilting, “Drunkenness”- wobbling when walking, Unbalanced, Hunger, Restlessness, Ataxia-usually lack of muscular coordination, but maybe changes in head and neck movements, Disorientation, Stupor, Sweating-check the nose and the paw pads, Lip-smacking or licking, Convulsions or Seizures, Coma, Shaking, Shivering, frequent yawning, pale pink or white gums, overly tired, refusal to eat or drink, dehydration, diarrhea, throwing up, yellow bile throw up or frothy white.
The occurrence of signs depends on how far and fast the sugar level has dropped.
Hypoglycemia is characterized by a sudden drop in normal blood sugar levels that is normally seen in underweight puppies or caused when puppies fast too long between meals.
It is important to realize that just because a new puppy may experience an episode of hypoglycemia, this does not imply that the particular puppy is actually “hypoglycemic.” Hypoglycemia is a persistent ailment brought on by the overproduction of insulin from the pancreas.
Hypoglycemia in Yorkshire Terriers Causes
While hypoglycemia is a condition more commonly seen in puppies between the ages of 5 to 16 weeks, that they usually grow out of, it can also occur in mature toy breeds when they are subjected to stress.
While all small or toy dog breed puppies can suffer from hypoglycemia, and even some working breed dogs who work in cold conditions for many hours without replenishing their reserves, very tiny, undersized Yorkshire Terrier puppies are especially prone to hypoglycemia because of their lack of muscle mass makes it difficult for their bodies to store glucose and regulate blood sugar levels.
Every article written about small-sized breeds can hardly fail to mention the very common occurrence of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause brain damage, seizures, and ultimately death, if not noticed in time and carefully monitored. The good news is that hypoglycemia is 100% preventable.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia in Yorkshire Terriers
Hypoglycemia mainly affects younger Yorkies. However, it may strike older dogs as well. A Yorkie with low sugar levels in the blood is likely to have these symptoms:
Lethargy – Your otherwise healthy pup may become drowsy and seem too weak to walk.
Confusion – Your pet may seem confused, unfocused, and unable to listen to your commands.
Drooling – In Hypoglycemia, the gums of dogs turn gray or palish yellow. They also become sticky, due to which your pet may start excessive drooling.
Limping – Hypoglycemia weakens the muscles, so your pet may seem to limp and stagger.
Depression – depression is also a symptom of Hypoglycemia in Yorkshire Terriers.
Body temperature – The body temperature falls considerably below the normal range.
Trembling and collapse – A collapse is one of the most severe signs of Hypoglycemia as it can also lead to seizures.
If your Yorkie shows these symptoms, rush your puppy to a veterinarian immediately.