Symptoms of Low Calcium in Nursing Dogs

Calcium is an essential mineral for dogs, particularly for nursing mothers. It plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as proper muscle and nerve function. A deficiency in calcium, also known as hypocalcemia, can lead to a range of serious health issues for nursing dogs. It is important to understand the symptoms of low calcium in nursing dogs so that you can take prompt action to address the issue.

Signs and symptoms of low calcium in nursing dogs

Muscle weakness

As calcium is necessary for proper muscle function, a deficiency can lead to weak and flaccid muscles. This can manifest as difficulty standing or walking, and in severe cases, the dog may not be able to stand at all. This muscle weakness can also make it difficult for the dog to nurse her puppies, which can lead to further complications.

Seizures

Calcium plays an important role in the proper functioning of the nervous system, and a deficiency can lead to seizures. These seizures may be mild or severe and can occur at any time. They can be especially dangerous for nursing dogs, as they may not be able to take care of their puppies while they are seizing.

Muscle twitching

This is caused by the malfunctioning of the nervous system due to low calcium levels. The twitching can be seen in the dog’s face, legs, or tail, and can occur at any time. This can be a sign of a mild deficiency, and if not addressed, it can lead to more severe symptoms.

Decrease in milk production

Nursing dogs with low calcium may also experience a decrease in milk production. This is caused by the body diverting calcium from milk production to other functions. A nursing dog with low calcium may not produce enough milk to feed her puppies, which can lead to malnourishment and growth delays.

Changes in behavior

Nursing dogs with low calcium may experience a change in behavior. They may become lethargic and unresponsive, and may not want to interact with their puppies. This can be a sign that the dog is in pain or discomfort, and it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

It is important to note that the symptoms of low calcium in nursing dogs can be mistaken for other health issues. Therefore, it is crucial to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian if you suspect a calcium deficiency. A blood test can be performed to determine the dog’s calcium levels and confirm a diagnosis.

If a calcium deficiency is confirmed, treatment will depend on the severity of the deficiency and the underlying cause. In mild cases, the dog may be given a calcium supplement to correct the deficiency. However, in more severe cases, the dog may need to receive calcium through an IV to correct the deficiency quickly.

In order to prevent low calcium in nursing dogs, it is important to ensure that they are receiving a balanced diet that includes enough calcium. Nursing dogs may require more calcium than non-nursing dogs, so it is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of calcium for your dog. Additionally, nursing dogs should be monitored for any signs of a calcium deficiency, and if any symptoms are observed, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible.

In conclusion, low calcium in nursing dogs can lead to a range of serious health issues. It is important to understand the symptoms of low calcium, such as muscle weakness, seizures, muscle twitching, decrease in milk production, and changes in behavior, so that you can take prompt action to address the issue.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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