Also known as “puerperal tetany” or “milk fever,” eclampsia is an acute, potentially life-threatening disease that commonly hits lactating canines. Some dogs can’t supply enough calcium to meet the increased needs. When calcium goes into the milk, her body quickly gets drained. The risk is equally high for nursing and pregnant dogs. This disease usually happens during the 1st – 3rd week from the day of birth but it may also happen when the dam is pregnant. Pomeranians and other toy breeds have the greatest risk of contracting this disease. Puppies aren’t affected because the dam’s milk seems normal in this time period.
Eclampsia is extremely serious but the good news is that it’s easy to identify the signals, particularly when she’s late in her pregnancy and/or the supply of milk. The first signs are nervousness and restlessness. Then she’ll start walking stiffly and wobbly and appear to be disoriented. If ignored, she’ll have limbs that become rigid and she won’t be able to walk. Her respiration rate will rise and a fever of more than 105°C may occur. If she doesn’t receive immediate treatment, it’s highly likely that she will die.
If you even suspect that your dam has eclampsia, get her to a vet straightaway and stop her puppies nursing for at least 24 hours. They can be fed with a commercial milk replacer. The vet can verify eclampsia with a simple blood test that measures calcium amounts. Then he can put her on a calcium IV drip. After she recovers, the vet may suggest oral calcium supplements. Providing that your Pom responds to her treatment, you may slowly start to let her puppies nurse. However, consult your vet before going ahead.
If your Pom has excessive amounts of calcium while pregnant, the risks of eclampsia increase greatly. This usually only happens if the owner feeds her more than she needs. The parathyroid hormone regulates calcium levels. If your pregnant Pom is fed more calcium, the hormone will be reduced. If she suddenly requires more calcium (birthing increases her needs), it’s impossible because her body doesn’t have enough of the parathyroid hormone. Calcium levels drop and that increases the risk of eclampsia. If your Pom contracts eclampsia once, her risk of getting it again is increased when birthing more litters down the track. However, there are steps that can be carried out to prevent it from happening again. This means you must work with your vet to plan a precise feeding plan for the pregnancy period and once she has given birth.
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.
Copyright Pomeranian.org. All Rights Reserved.
References and Further Reading:
 Denise Leo “The Pomeranian Handbook”.
The Pomeranian Handbook