Canine Eclampsia, or Milk Fever In Dogs


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Eclampsia, or milk fever, is an acute, life-threatening condition which attacks a brood bitch about 3 to 4 weeks after whelping puppies. It is more common in the small breeds of dogs that have had large litters.

Symptoms of eclampsia include stiffness, nervousness and restlessness. The brood bitch will loose interest in her puppies. She will very likely run a fever and have a rapid heart rate. In really severe cases of eclampsia the brood-bitch will have muscle spasms or seizures, and be unable to walk.

Eclampsia is commonly known as milk fever.

It is caused by low blood calcium at a time when the body needs to produce calcium-rich milk. It is treated by administering 10% calcium gluconate injections intravenously, at 0.25-0.75ml per pound body weight per hour. The brood-bitch will usually return to normal in less than fifteen minutes after treatment.

In really severe cases of eclampsia it may be necessary to wean the puppies or place their mother on a calcium supplement for the remainder of the lactation.

People often give their brood-bitch heavy calcium supplements during her pregnancy, however this does not prevent eclampsia, and can actually cause it to reoccur during future pregnancies.


Russell Savige has 18 years experience as a professional dog breeder. He is the owner of Training Dog Breeds , which includes a massive Directory of dog related websites, covering breeds and breeding, training, rearing and health issues in dogs.



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