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Eclampsia in Dogs: The Life-Saving Role of Calcium

Eclampsia, also known as milk fever or puerperal tetany, is a critical condition that can affect lactating dogs, particularly small breeds such as Chihuahuas. This condition is caused by a sudden drop in blood calcium levels, which is essential for normal muscle and nerve function. Understanding the signs of eclampsia and knowing how to respond can save your dog's life.

Understanding Eclampsia in Dogs

Eclampsia occurs most commonly in small breed dogs during the first few weeks after giving birth. The demands of milk production can deplete the mother's calcium levels, leading to severe hypocalcemia. Without prompt treatment, eclampsia can rapidly progress, leading to seizures, coma, and even death.

Signs and Symptoms

Early recognition of eclampsia is crucial. Signs to watch for include:

  • Restlessness and Panting: Initial symptoms often include restlessness and excessive panting as the dog's body struggles to regulate calcium levels.

  • Muscle Tremors and Shaking: As calcium levels drop, muscle tremors and shaking can occur, starting in the face and spreading to the limbs.

  • Weakness and Inability to Stand: Affected dogs may show signs of weakness, particularly in the hind legs, and may be unable to stand or walk.

  • Seizures: In severe cases, untreated eclampsia can lead to seizures, which are life-threatening and require immediate veterinary intervention.

Immediate Response

If you suspect your dog has eclampsia, immediate action is required. Here's what you can do:

  1. Administer Calcium Supplements: Fast-absorbing oral calcium supplements can provide immediate relief. At, we recommend products like Breeder’s Edge Oral Cal Plus. Administer five cc’s of this supplement to the affected dog.

  2. Monitor and Re-administer: After the initial dose, monitor your dog closely. If symptoms persist, you can give another dose a few hours later. Always follow up with your veterinarian for further guidance and treatment.

  3. Veterinary Care: Even if the calcium supplement provides immediate relief, it is critical to have your dog examined by a veterinarian. They can provide intravenous calcium and monitor for any complications.

Preventing Eclampsia

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of eclampsia in your dog:

  • Balanced Diet: Ensure your lactating dog receives a balanced diet with adequate calcium levels. High-quality commercial dog foods designed for pregnant and nursing dogs are often fortified with essential nutrients.

  • Calcium Supplements: Discuss with your veterinarian the appropriate use of calcium supplements during pregnancy and lactation. At, we offer a range of supplements specifically formulated for breeding dogs.

  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Regular check-ups during pregnancy and the postpartum period can help identify and address any nutritional deficiencies before they become critical.

Educational Resources

At, we are committed to providing educational resources to help pet owners care for their dogs. Understanding conditions like eclampsia and knowing how to respond can make a significant difference in your dog's health and well-being.

For more information on pet care and to explore our range of products, visit or call us at 800-658-5308. We are here to support you and your pets with expert advice and high-quality products.

By staying informed and prepared, you can ensure the best possible care for your lactating dog and her puppies, helping them to thrive and stay healthy.

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