*Note: There is no sound on this video, so no need to turn it up.

This VETgirl online veterinary CE video demonstrates classic clinical signs of canine eclampsia. Clinical signs of hypocalcemia are evidenced by: panting, agitation, tremors, facial rubbing (pruritus), and potentially even seizures. This is often seen in small breed dogs that had poor nutritional support during breeding or nursing.

For this reason, VETgirl doesn’t generally recommend putting pregnant mothers on puppy food during pregnancy; this has a higher amount of calcium, and diminishes the homeostatic drive to mobilize more calcium from the body (e.g., via the kidneys, bone, and gastrointestinal tract). Once parturition takes place, the mother should ideally be placed on a puppy food, but additional supplementation with calcium typically is not recommended until clinical signs of hypocalcemia develop (as it suppresses further calcium mobilization).

For the acute presentation of eclampsia, treatment includes clinicopathologic testing (e.g., a venous blood gas to check blood glucose and ionized calcium), intravenous boluses of calcium gluconate 10% if hypolcacemic (1 ml/kg, slow intravenously over 10-15 minutes), ECG monitoring, intravenous fluid therapy, oral supplementation of calcium, and frequent monitoring of calcium.

What’s imperative is that the puppies be weaned immediately off the mother; hand raising of the puppies is imperative to allow the mother to dry up. Pet owners need to be instructed on how to bottle feed or tube feed (ELITE members, check out this tube feeding video here!) with an appropriate puppy supplementation at home.

Overall, the prognosis for canine eclampsia is excellent with supportive care.

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  1. Can I ask why we monitor the ECG , what are we looking for ? Just a general tachycardia? Heart block ?

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