Eclampsia, aka “Milk Fever”, aka Post-partum hypocalcemia

The phone rang at 3:00AM.  This is never good: I am not pretty and I need my beauty sleep. "Do you make house-calls?"  It turns out the guy got up to use the bathroom and found his dog stiff and twitching uncontrollably. "Is this a female dog?" Yes.  "Has she had puppies recently?" Two weeks ago. "What kind of dog is it?" Part Rat-terrier and part Feist [I thought those were two different names for the same breed. In fact, I still think that.]  She needs an intravenous calcium injection, and I’m going to work… at three o’clock in the morning.  I’ll be discombobulated for days.

Shaking_dog_2 So here she is.  You can’t see her rigidity, her shaking, her fever. 

Big_jugs2 What you can see are the hardest-working glands in show-business.  This gal is running a do-it-yourself dairy, but she failed to read that little disclaimer about "professional driver, closed course, do not attempt".   She didn’t see the asterisk: "Results not typical".

This dog is actually not the typical eclampsia sufferer.  While I have seen Beagles and even larger dogs with the condition, the typical patient is a very small dog like a Chihuahua.  She’s milking heavily.  While it might occur even before birth, or at any time during nursing, seven to fourteen days after birth is pretty typical.  The bitch cannot cope with the demands of putting so much calcium in the mammary pipelines, and her blood calcium levels get low.  When this happens, the nerve-muscle electrical function gets screwy, resulting in uncontrollable muscle contractions.  This, like shivering, causes a rise in temperature (though to much higher, even dangerous levels, as high as 107 degrees).  Convulsions result and the combination of seizures and high temperature will prove fatal if not treated.

The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is to treat.  In early stages, one can almost always achieve a rapid reversal of signs by giving a slow intravenous injection of calcium gluconate.  It is miraculous to see the dog return to normal.  In more advanced and severe cases, intravenous fluids may be needed to support and cool the patient, and anti-convulsant sedatives may be needed for the seizures, but most can be saved.

We used to think these dogs didn’t have enough calcium in their diets (which certainly wouldn’t help anything).  Breeders used to give the bitches calcium supplements.  This turns out to be of little help.  It is a good idea to feed a high-quality puppy food during the last half of pregnancy and nursing.  This provides the extra protein, calories, vitamins and minerals needed for gestation and nursing.  However, there are plenty of dogs who have crummy diets and they don’t get eclampsia.  The dogs that get it just can’t handle the metabolic stress of nursing, and it doesn’t seem to matter what you feed them. 

Since being "milked out" is what stimulates more milk production, you have to quit milking the dog.  In other words, the puppies get moved from the mama to the bottle — no more nursing.  Since this condition appears to stem from a flaw in mama’s metabolism, she needs to get out of the mommy business.  If she has another litter, you can count on another emergency call.

This is really my least favorite emergency, as I can’t be self-righteous about it.  It’s not due to neglect or bad judgment.  It’s not like letting the dog run loose, or feeding it garbage, or forgetting that you left rat-poison behind the couch.  It is a true emergency, in that it just emerges, springing out like Athena from the head of Zeus.  Not only that, if I don’t go treat it, the dog will die.  It really can’t wait.  The only thing the owner could really do to prepare would be to get informed about the problem when the dog gets pregnant, and keep some Calsorb on hand (a rapidly absorbed oral calcium supplement) for emergency treatment at home.  Speaking of getting informed, here’s a link to a great article on birthing puppies from Veterinary Partner.

154 thoughts on “Eclampsia, aka “Milk Fever”, aka Post-partum hypocalcemia

  1. Doc says:

    That is a tough question. Flipping a bone chip out of a distressed dog’s mouth isn’t bad, as emergencies go. Mostly I like the ones that aren’t in the middle of the night, aren’t too much work, and the pet gets well.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

    • Tammy Doss says:

      My chuahua had puppies two weeks ago
      Today she is panting restless and just freaking out she has been a great momma why is this happening?

      • Doc says:

        Hello, Tammy,
        This is the most common timing for the eclampsia. If you have not already seen a veterinarian, please do so as soon as you can.

  2. libby haver says:

    Sorry to bother you on Father’s Day but ….my boxer is pregnant and she was due yesterday but we bred her on the 7th day
    of the cycle “just in case” per my vet, so we could be 3 days off or so. She tied the 12th of April and the 16th of April.
    Her x-ray was done the 9th of this month and we saw 7 to 9 puppies. This is her first litter she turned 2 in May. I noticed the other day she seemed stiff when she got up, but she had slept in the same spot all night so I thought maybe from laying there for so long her front legs went to sleep. I have been monitoring her temp since Wed. It has fluctuated from 100.9 and for the past 2 nights it has gone down as low as 98.6 last night. This morning 99.6 at noon 98.6 at 2:42 99.8.
    At about 10:00 this morning she started shivering but she had been out in the rain but she has been doing it all day now off and on. She has eaten a little bit, not much, yesterday or today but she was never a big eater. She has a small amount of whitish yellow discharge from her vulva.
    Her gums are a pinkish white and she has had no more signs of being stiff since the other day.
    I squeeve her nipples and a few of them oozed a yellowish fluid but did not seem painful to her.
    She seems a little out of it. Has that far off look in her eyes but no panting and I can see the fetuses moving but have seen no contractions. She is not digging or licking her vulva but she does seem very tired and uncomfortable. I am concerned about milk fever, what do you think?
    I do need to mention that I spotted tape worms in her stool 2 days ago, I called the vet upset because she was tested before I bred her and when the x-ray was done because she looks thin to me and the tests were negative. They informed me that the test does not pick up tapes???? I think someone should have told me that months ago!!!! She has lost all of her muscle tone and her backbone sticks way up. She has never had fleas but the vet sd that she could have eaten a mouse and could have gotten them that way. We live in the country and she has the run of 12 acres (when she is not pregnant)so it is very possible. Anyway, whatever expert advise you can give me will be so appreciated. I will def be taking her to the vet tomm and maybe tonight. I called te emerenc vet and theys se is probably just in early labor and to keep an eye on her, they sd shivering is a reponse to pain. They are 2 hours away and all of my whelping stuff is ready to go here. It would be terrible for her to deliver her babies in the truck on the way there.

  3. Doc says:

    Hello, Libby,

    It is very unlikely that your dog has low blood calcium. It is virtually unheard of in large-breed dogs.

    Unfortunately, our fecal exams for parasites look for microscopic parasite eggs. The tapeworms pass chunks of worm that are full of the eggs. You are much more likely to find the pieces of tapeworm passing than your veterinarian is to find anything in the microscopic exam. There just really isn’t a good test, other than visual inspection of the stool, the dog, and the dog’s bedding. Any type of raw meat can be a source, including rabbits and rodents, and fleas are also intermediate hosts (probably responsible for MOST of the tapeworm infestations that I see in my practice). The deworming will be safe for her, despite pregnancy and nursing.

    The loss of condition and weight occurs because the mother will sacrifice her own body to keep building the puppies. Nine puppies is a BIG litter. It is very difficult for her to eat enough to satisfy all the demands of pregnancy, even if she is eating a good, high-quality puppy food. Once she delivers, she’ll have more room in her stomach and should eat better.

    Many mother dogs are uneasy, uncomfortable and restless for two days before the onset of active labor (contractions, pushing, water breaking, etc.). This is often referred to as the “first stage” of labor.

    I hope that all goes well.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  4. fever symptoms says:

    A child with a high fever may have a febrile seizure. Symptoms of a seizure include shaking or jerking of the arms and legs, a fixed stare or the eyes rolling back, drooling, heavy breathing, and the skin turning blue. If your child has a febrile seizure, contact your doctor immediately.

  5. Doc says:

    Hello, Stacey,

    Generally speaking, I recommend bottle-feeding the dogs and not allowing the mother to nurse them. Another episode of low blood calcium is very likely if she resumes nursing them.

    My feeling is that these dogs are not physically well-equipped to nurse. Even with supplementation of their diet they can have a relapse of this life-threatening problem.

    I am certainly not an expert on reproductive medicine. I am speaking only from my clinical experience.

    Your best source of advice is the veterinarian who is treating your dog. Ask him/her what they think is appropriate for your particular case.

    Good luck.

  6. Emmy says:

    Hello Dr., really nice post. This is the second post I have come across where a vet says that supplements are really of no use ,and the last post said they may actually work against calcium production in the body. Can you tell us a bit more about this. I would suggest people use a supplement such as osteo-form with pregnant, lactating or elderly dogs to help prevent calcium deficiency… do you feel this isn’t a very good idea? I’d love to know more from you. Thanks!

  7. Doc says:

    Hello, Emmy,

    I wish I had a lot more expertise to share with you, but I do not.

    We rarely recognize osteoporosis even in older dog, provided that they are on a balanced diet. Dogs who are living on Vienna Sausages probably need some dietary supplements, though.

    Metabolic disease that causes osteoporosis is unlikely to be improved by supplements. If you’ve got some hormone wackiness, that needs to be diagnosed.

    I am certainly not a nutritionist, nor an internal medicine specialist. Thus, I’m about as far out on the limb as I intend to go.

    If you have a specific case in mind, I would be happy to try to investigate further. Bear in mind that my advice could only be general, as I have not examined your pet.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  8. Teri says:

    Our dog is 7 lbs and had a litter of 6 large pups. She fed for one week and got hypocalcimea. Thankfully we caught it early. We separated her and the pups. She cries and is very sad and full of milk. Looks all over for her babies. How long will this last? When can they reunite. She can not feed them anymore at all.

  9. Doc says:

    Hello, Teri,

    It is the buildup of pressure in the udder that causes the dog to stop producing milk. Unfortunately, that is uncomfortable. Sometimes alternating warm and cold compresses helps relieve this discomfort.

    It make take a week or more for the udder to dry. She cannot be allowed to have the pups in a possible nursing situation until the udder is completely dry.

  10. Teri says:

    Thank you for the feedback. After she is dry and the pups are being bottle fed is it safe to let her care for them, or will she start producing milk again? Do we just need to keep them separated until the pups are eating regular puppy mush? She is searching for the pups crying a lot.

  11. Doc says:

    Hello, Terri,

    I would allow her to be with the pups only when supervised to avoid them nursing her.

    I wouldn’t leave them alone with her until they are eating mush and her udder appears dry.

  12. Terri says:

    My dog had pups 2 weeks ago. She keeps going through stages where she feels hot and she pants alot then she is fine. She is eating good and drinking alot. Her ttemp is 102.2 tonight but I m worried she may be getting fevers. How can I tell? Out of a litter of 3 she has 1 that survived. She is full of milk. Is there a way I can tell if she has what you explained?

  13. Doc says:

    Your veterinarian can check the dog’s blood calcium level. With only one pup nursing, I wouldn’t expect her to have too heavy a demand, but some dogs get the low blood calcium anyway. It’s not so much a diet thing, as it is their body having difficulty maintaining the balance in the bloodstream as they make milk.

    102.2 is pretty normal. A dog’s normal temperature averages 101.5.

  14. Hope says:

    My chihuahua/min pin mix has had this happen approx one year ago. Due to economic stress in our area we were unable to get her fixed and she just had another litter about two weeks ago. She is showing signs of low calcium again even though I have fed her food with extra calcium and she takes a calcium suppliment. She just started showing signs last night so I am wondering if I take the puppies away will her calcium levels come back up on their own or do I still need to take her to our vet?

  15. Doc says:

    Hello, Hope,

    The stimulus to milk production is being milked out. If you start bottle feeding the puppies, then her milk should dry up, and the blood calcium situation should improve.

    If she has severe tremors, she will probably need emergency assistance, as it can progress into convulsions if it gets bad enough.

  16. Nicole says:

    My miniature dashund had a litter of 6 pups 4 weeks ago today. Last Monday she was really weak and she began to have what I figured to be a seizure so I rushed her to the emergency vet clinic and they told me she had eclampsia. They kept her for about 6 hours and gave her fluids and injections of calcium and when they got her levels back to normal they sent her home with calcium tablets and said she should be ok and to continue to let her nurse the puppies. Well needless to say she relapsed the day before yesterday so I rushed her back to the emergency vet and they kept her overnight. She is home now and the vet said to not let her nurse anymore so we have kept her away from the puppies and now she is very engorged and seems to be in pain. The vet recommended cutting her food back and I did but doesn’t seem to help immediately. At this point I have spent a thousand dollars on vet bills and cannot afford to take her to the vet again unless its a real emergency. Do you have any advice as to what I can do to help dry up her milk or even relieve some of her pain? Please help

  17. Doc says:

    Hello, Nicole,

    The stimulus to milk production is being milked out. So it might relieve her discomfort a little bit to squeeze out the milk, but it wouldn’t help “dry her off”.

    The buildup of pressure in the udder is what will stop the milk production. We don’t have a medicine that will do it.

    To relieve her discomfort, you can try warm compresses or cold compresses, or alternating the two and seeing which one helps the most.

    Soak a towel in warm water (not so hot it would burn your hands – if you can’t stand it, neither can she).

    For cold compress, you can use a towel soaked in ice-water (NO ice on the skin, please).

    You can also ask your veterinarian about some pain medicine to make her more comfortable in the short term.

  18. Anne Perry says:

    My English Mstiff is having rigors. She had 10 puppies about 9 days ago. Her temp is 103.7. We don’t have an emergency vet and the closest one is over an hour away. It is 9:30 p.m. now. Is this something that I need to take her to the emergency clinic for or will it be okay for me to wait until the morning? These puppies are nursing a lot.

  19. Doc says:

    Hello, Anne,

    Sorry to be late in replying, but didn’t have internet access last night.

    I hope that you went to the emergency clinic. Eclampsia is usually life-threatening, though I don’t have any experience with such a large dog having it.

    Usually it is toy-breed dogs, though I have seen it in a couple of Beagles.

    Hope things are okay.

  20. Ariel says:

    My chihuahua had 5 puppies but 1 she smushed she had them on the 1st onto the 2nd of this month(September) she was fine till the 6th and she started falling and shaking and was HOT I gave her milk and water and after like a hour she was fine…….I believe it is milk fever.. Today September 8 it started off at 5am and now is 7:40 am she is doing it again she shakes then stops shakes and stops fever went down but she is still shaking we don’t have a vet here but have one 1 and a half away….what can I do to make it stop now? At home

  21. Doc says:

    Hello, Ariel,

    I do not know a home remedy for this. Don’t let the puppies nurse any more. Feed them with a bottle.

    These cases usually require emergency treatment with intravenous calcium gluconate. This is a life-threatening situation.

  22. Ariel says:

    Ok she finally stopped after we held her as we were falling asleep the puppies are only 6 days old don’t they still need the mommas milk?

  23. Doc says:

    If she truly has had the low-blood-calcium eclampsia, more nursing will pull more calcium from her bloodstream, and she will have the tremors again. They might not stop without emergency treatment.

    I would recommend that you have your dog evaluated by your veterinarian. If this is truly the condition, then the puppies need to be bottle-fed to prevent the mother from producing milk and going back into the low blood-calcium state.

    There are good milk replacement formulas available. It is a lot of trouble to bottle-feed, but it may be necessary.

    You need to consult your veterinarian.

  24. Michelle says:

    Hi there. I ran across this page while looking for answers to my dog’s situation. I have a 3 yr old Japanese Chin female with 12 day old puppies. Four days ago, we took her to the vet for what we found out to be eclampsia. She was treated and released with a bottle of Osteo-form. About an hour an a half ago, she started having symptoms and I called the emergency vet who told me to give her up to 3 of the calcium pills and that she would be fine until regular vet hours in the morning. She has stopped drooling, her shaking has eased up but not stopped entirely, her little legs aren’t rigid anymore and the panting has eased some as well. I got the last pill in her about half an hour ago. I was in a state of semi-panic when I talked to the vet and didn’t ask how long it would take for the pills to kick in but they seem to be working as I type this. Figured since you didn’t know any home treatments that I could at least provide my experience as a reference of sorts. Plus, it’s helping to keep me calm while I wait this out. I hope this information helps!

  25. Doc says:

    Hello, Michelle,
    I hope that your baby continues to do well. It is uncommon to need additional IV treatments, but certainly not unheard of.

    It is important that you not allow the puppies to nurse, and hand-feed then instead. The mom needs to stop making milk.

    I usually recommend no further breeding, as well, as this problem tends to recur.

  26. annalee says:

    My chihauhau had puppies three days ago the second day I took the puppies of her titi because she is known of having milk fever and the second day I started seeing signs so I’m feeding the puppies formal and she started panting again but only when its feeding time what do I do? Do I need them to feed on her or do I take them away from her?

  27. doc says:

    Hello, Annalee,

    The veterinarian who usually sees her is your best source of advice. He/she may want to check blood calcium levels.

    If she has had milk fever in the past, she is very likely to have it again. Generally speaking, I would probably put the puppies on formula so that she quits producing milk.

    Some dogs just cannot maintain proper blood calcium levels while producing milk, even if there is plenty of calcium in the diet.

  28. annalee says:

    My chihauhau puppie is 3days old he keeps crying and I tryed feeding him prepping him seeing if he need to go pee or popo nothing it looks like he is having trouble breathing you can see it in his chest he takes deep breathes and he keeps his mouth open almost all the time and since he was born the mom don’t want nothing to do with him he is real little in size in weight is there anything I can do I have no more money I took the mom to get well and now he is having problems and I can’t take him because I can’t pay if there is anything you can tell me that will help I sure will appreciate the help thank you

  29. doc says:

    Hello, Annalee,

    After each feeding, you have to stimulate him to go to the bathroom. His mother would lick him, but you can use your finger. Stroke him starting at the anus, and stroke down to the belly. Doing this several times will usually cause him to go to the bathroom.

    If he hasn’t gone yet, this could be a problem, as the stool can get too hard to pass.

    I really cannot explain to you how to give an enema without seeing the dog.

    I am very concerned about the open-mouth breathing. It is possible that some formula got down his windpipe and that he has penumonia.

    If he is just congested, sometimes steam will help. You can fog up the bathroom with a hot shower, just like you would for a baby with the croup.

    Puppies that are orphaned at less than one week of age do not have a good prognosis, even when you do everything right. It’s really hard to raise one from that age.

  30. annalee says:

    The puppy isn’t doing so good he hasn’t ate sincen12:00pm 4/15/14 I have gave him drops lil by lil and he has not move at all not even when I change where he lays he is also breathing real slow and about the stool he had two that were good and one that was big and it cut him alil but these last two stools he has blood coming out not alot it comes out after his stool. Do you have any idea on what this is or how I can help him. Is it best to put him down or this will pass its just he is so small his brothers are 4 of him.

  31. doc says:

    Hello, Annalee,

    What you are describing sounds pretty bad. It sounds like he is unlikely to make it.

    I wish I had some good advice for you, but I really don’t.

  32. annalee says:

    Thank you for everything but my Troop did not make it. It just broke my heart to see him go. But I know he is no longer suffering.

  33. Anne Farley says:

    Hello, I have an almost 2 year old miniature dachsand that had 6 puppies last year and came down with calcium deficiency, which I had never heard of before but seems to be quite common among small dogs.
    I read an article online, not yours unfortunately, that said it almost always occurs with the 1st litter only. Based on this information, before we spay her, she got pregnant again and I decided to let her have them thinking the 2nd litter would be different. Now that I am reading your articles, this seems unlikely, so can you tell me what I can do to prevent it again. Is it possible that if I bottle feed them as much as I can, and only let her nurse them for a couple days to get the necessary immunities, is it likely it will still become a problem? Keeping her away from the puppies last time was almost as much torture for me as it was for her. She cried and cried and cried and so did I for, that matter. What is the calcium powder mentioned and where do I get it. Is there anything I can do before she gets sick besides no nursing? I too spent thousands running her to the emergency and our vet, plus I also endured being chewed out and shamed by my then vet, as if I was intentionally hurting her. I kept her from nursing as much as could but she or they snuck it in enough for her to get sick again.
    She is due within the next week and I now find myself panicking again. Please advise and tell me where I can get this supplement mentioned that seemed to make a difference. Thanks so much for you time and expertise.

  34. Doc says:

    Hello, Anne,

    Calsorb is a gel, comes in syringes for oral use. Your veterinarian can get it for you. It’s a “rescue” product that can possibly prevent the need for IV treatment. You need to talk to the veterinarian who sees your dog. I really can’t prescribe for you.

    No guarantee that she’ll have problems the next time around, but you’d want to be prepared.

    You are correct in wanting the puppies to receive the colostrum (first milk, containing immunity transfer from mom).

    As to the timing, I’ve seen it happen in the first 24 hours, but more commonly several days, up to two weeks later.

    This is best discussed with your regular veterinarian who knows your dog.

  35. Anne Farley says:

    Thank you so much for the response. I am a wildlife rehab triage transporter, so I do have some experince in diagnosing and treating animals, so I think the cal sorb would be a good option for me just in case. Is here any kind of powder or supplement I can give her now in an effort to prevent it from happening again? I am giving her premium puppy food from the pet store and trying not to give her a lot of meat which was a mistake I made last time, giving her steak and hamburger almost every day. I also gave her milk prior to the births last time. I am a little confused however, is it good to give her goat milk or even goat milk puppy milk replacer after she gives birth? She loved it last time so I let her have it as much as she wanted. Also, is goats milk better to give a pet under any circumstances as opposed to cows milk? The other thing I am working on is making a little garment for her that would allow her to remain with her puppies but not nurse. I think it’s important for the bonding to take place if possible. I will share the outcome with you as I think there is a real need for such a thing. It would have made my life so much easier. I feel like she thought she was being punished when I wouldn’t let her nurse.

    I think it should be any day now because she does have her milk or colostrum in now, and I think she seems smaller than last time so hopefully, she won’t have 6 puppies.

  36. doc says:

    Hello, Anne,
    As you may have learned, meat is high in phosphorus (which pulls calcium), and zero calcium. So, lots of meat is probably not a great idea.

    The puppy food (growth diet) usually does not require additional supplementation.

    I really cannot speak to the relative virtues of cow’s milk versus goat’s milk.

  37. Dee Errington says:

    My English bully had puppies this past Friday, via C-Section. She didn’t take to the pups at all an actually attacked 3 of them. Good news is that we found a foster mommy and also bottle feeding the puppies. Now my Darla started panting hard 2 days after surgey, shivering, drooling more and extremely moody to the other dogs she was raised with. Took her to the vet yesterday and her temp was normal. They gave her a shot of a strong antibiotic and them added another along with the Keflex. Vet had no idea what was wrong. Thought it could be stress. After reading up on milk fever I’m pretty sure she may have this. She’s not rigid at all and not wobbling. She’s eating and drinking. I’m waiting for my vet to return my call…I’m getting extremely anxious.

  38. Doc says:

    Hello, Dee,

    If she is not nursing the puppies, it is very unlikely to be the low blood calcium.

    From your description, I would say the the next step would probably be some blood tests. A blood chemistry panel will tell you if there is a problem with her calcium (also liver, kidney, blood sugar and some other things). A complete blood count will help you evaluate whether there is a serious infection. You may need an ultrasound examination of the uterus.

    Your regular veterinarian who sees and knows your dog is your best source of information.

  39. Leanne says:

    Hi..My bichon is 2 years and 4 months old .she had 3 puppies four weeks ago ..Last night I had to take her to the emergency vet ..She was shaking and stiff ..her blood test showed low calcium and phosphates … This was her first litter ..I wanted to know if it was possible to breed her in the future and can this be prevented from happening?
    What if the puppies are taken from mom at 3 1/2 weeks would this prevent the calcium loss? I had her on a high calorie High quality diet.. I was told she didn’t need calcium supplements with a good diet.. Would it have helped if she were supplemented?
    I know you don’t recomend breeding again but could you just please tell me if there is a chance of preventing this from happening again?

  40. Doc says:

    Hello, Leanne,

    My experience has been that these tend to recur, even with supplementation. There is something wrong with the way these particular dogs handle their calcium metabolism while nursing their puppies.

    I’m no expert, but…

    One of the reproduction experts on Veterinary Information Network has said:

    “If I have periparturient hypocalcemia (PPC) occur in a bitch who was in good body condition and on an appropriate diet without Ca supplementation during gestation, then I am going to treat, certainly, and I am also going to recommend that she be removed from the breeding population.

    If the patient had PPC when on an inadequate diet or supplementation, then I correct those parameters for the next breeding.

    On the other hand, it isn’t “wrong” to supplement each bitch when she delivers BUT you are removing the ability to determine if this is truly a good brood bitch or one that should be removed from the breeding population.

    I am also a STRONG believer that, if the bitch needs to be supplemented, then her serum Ca levels (preferably ionic) need to be serially monitored during supplementation/lactation to ensure we are doing a good job of it.”

    That means blood tests about twice per week.

  41. Julia Garcia says:

    I have a chocolate lab she just had a litter of 13 puppies. All seem to be doing fine but tonight while nursing her head started shaking. Her temp is 103.6. I know you said it is very uncommon in large breads but I can’t find anything else that it sounds like it. Any advice?

  42. Doc says:

    Hello, Julia,
    Sorry to be late in replying, but I was out of town for a few days.

    I hope that you have your veterinarian by now.

    13 pups is one heck of a big litter, and I would recommend supplemental feeding with formula to support the pups who are less competitive, and take some stress off the mom.

    There are certainly other causes of tremors, including fever from an infection. Your veterinarian can check blood calcium levels to rule it in or out as a problem.

  43. Ana says:

    My husky had 6 puppies half of them born September 30 & half October 1. And suddenly I noticed the puppies got really fussy crying super loud. And I panicked and went out and bought puppy formula replacer. But when I got home they were all asleep. I see them all going for the tits close to her back legs. I would always see puppies with milk mustaches. I tried bottle feed but they turn their heads i follwed the directions warm milk. This is my first female dog so I didn’t really know all that went into it I feel like maybe I didn’t prepare her enough because I didn’t give her puppy food until now. Because I read about it. Do you think she could be have milk fever? Her tits seem really dry even after the pups suckle. I don’t see any milk…

  44. Doc says:

    Hello, Ana,

    She probably doesn’t have eclampsia, but she may have mastitis (infection or inflammation in the breast).

    Sounds like you need to see your veterinarian.

  45. Ann Potter says:

    My chaweenie had puppies 22 days ago. There are 4, she’s running fever (nose dry and hot, ears warm) and her tummy is very hot. I don’t have the $ to take her to a vet and I’m trying to give her a little puppy chow and bitches milk (2 tablespoons per day) to try to bring her calcium up. I’m scared…what else can I do. I’m also starting the puppies on puppy chow. Please help my Katy. Thank u

  46. Doc says:

    Hello, Ann,
    I wish that I could do more to help you, but I can’t even be certain what the problem is.

    Dry nose really doesn’t mean anything. You have to take the temperature rectally with a thermometer. It should be 101 or 101.5. 102 would still be okay.

    Keep her eating, keep adding the milk supplement, and try to get the puppies eating some solid food in addition to nursing. It’s pretty hard to do that before four weeks of age, though.

  47. Nadine says:

    My Yorkshire terrier has 6 puppies (3 weeks old) and she started shivering this morning. I googled it and she shows all the symptoms of milk fever. Will it be okay to only take her to the vet tomorrow morning as it is sunday and our vet aren’t open?

  48. Doc says:

    Hello, Nadine,

    If this really eclampsia, then it can become life-threatening. You shouldn’t let this continue, as it is likely to worsen. I would seek treatment as soon as possible.

  49. Katie says:

    My name is Katie. I have a Rat Terrier Female that has had pups. The Puppies are 4 weeks old. She already had milk fever on us once and we gave her calcium and she was over it and was acting like her self. Then she got milk fever on us again and was treated. But as the days went by her voice changed. then she got to where she couldn’t climb the stairs. Now she cant walk. We to her to the vet and they could not find anything. Her calcium level is fine. But we are really worried. She is are family pet. She is 7 years old. I really appreciate it if you could give me some kind of answer. no one else can tell me anything

  50. Doc says:

    Hello, Katie,

    If her calcium levels are fine, then one would suppose it is something unrelated.

    I would still be bottle-feeding the puppies and stop the nursing at this point, if you haven’t done so already.

    Rat Terriers don’t usually have back problems like Dachshunds do, where they lose control of their limbs.

    I wish I had some way to help you, but your veterinarian who is actually seeing your dog is in a much better position than I am to do so.

    You might ask them about referral to a specialist if they feel they have done all they can.

  51. jess heidler says:

    Hi. My lab whelped 14 pups 7 days ago. Whelping went great. No complctions and mom and pups were doing great. However this afternoon mom has started acting strnge. She is not eating and very restless. She still going to the bathroom fine but I noticed her belly looked like it was contracting a couple times and she’s drinking lots. She’s not paying as much attention to her pups as usual tonight.

  52. doc says:

    Hello, Jess,

    Eclampsia in a Labrador would be very rare and very surprising. I would be more concerned about the possibility of her having developed a uterine infection.

    During the birthing process, that cervix is wide open and there are a lot of fluids. Post-partum infections are not common, but have to be on the list.

    Lots of water-drinking is one of the warning signs of a uterine infection.

    I’d make a trip to your veterinarian as soon as I could to get this checked out.

  53. Lynn clason says:

    Hi I have a husky that just whelped 6 large pups and 1 semi little on a Dec 31. This is her first litter. She is panting occasionally and she will also roll on her back while the pups are nursing. Also I’m not sure if she is lactating. I gently squeezed her teats and nothing comes out. The pups seems to be fine. They are not fussing or crying excessively. I have done some suggestions like massaging her teats with warm wethe towel. I have also given her plain yogurt. She will also drink and eat only if I bring it to her. I’m concerned that it could be milk fever and should bottle feed the pups and let her rest.

  54. Doc says:

    Hello, Lynn,

    Big dogs like this rarely have low blood calcium. However, it is certainly possible that she is feeling bad after whelping, could have an infection developing. Usually the bitch would be eating well by this time.

    If the puppies are doing anything besides eating and sleeping at this time (i.e. crying), they may very well not be getting enough to eat. It would certainly be okay to supplement with bottle-feeding of formula.

    I would recommend that you have mom checked out as soon as possible by your veterinarian.

  55. Egill Gudjonsson says:

    My Chiuahua is nursing with 2 puppies and is having calsium signs of disstress. So again mu question was how much can a Chihuahua´s body absorb of calsion like in calsium tablet form?

  56. Doc says:

    Hello, Egill,

    I don’t think that the calcium tablets are very likely to be helpful.

    The Calsorb gel is intended to be a rescue product.

    Dogs with this problem don’t necessarily suffer from a true calcium deficiency. If you feed a good commercial puppy food, there’s plenty of calcium in the diet.

    These dogs have a problem handling the movement of calcium from body stores into milk without getting the blood levels too low. There is something wrong with their metabolism.

  57. Hannah says:


    My maltese shitzu is 6 years old, isn’t desexed, but has never had a litter. Today I notice that she has milk coming out all of her nipples if you squeeze them gently. She doesn’t have any contact with male dogs and I haven’t noticed her on heat lately.

    Could this just be a phantom pregnancy?

  58. Doc says:

    Hello, Hannah,

    Female dogs go through the hormonal changes associated with a pregnancy every time they have a cycle, even when they are not exposed to a male.

    Usually this is so slight that you would have to test her blood or urine for hormones to know it.

    In some dogs, it is very pronounced, leading to the phenomenon known as pseudocyesis, also called false pregnancy, or phantom pregnancy.

    There are varying degrees of this. They can get milk in their udder, their abdomen can sag down, they may even make a nest, and get quite upset when puppies do not arrive.

    When this happens repeatedly, they are at higher than average risk of developing an infection in their uterus. Dogs that have repeated false pregnancies should be spayed (de-sexed, as you say) to prevent this from happening.

  59. Stacy says:

    My 3 year old chihuahua started panting with her mouth open and trembling. She seems very week and can’t really walk . She had puppies 14 days ago and I am very worried.

  60. Doc says:

    Hello, Stacy,

    I hope that your dog has either recovered on her own or received appropriate treatment. That would be a very classic description of a little nursing mother with low blood calcium.

  61. Amy Burrows says:

    Hi my chihuahua gave birth to 4pups 3 days ago. We lost 2 and a third isn’t looking the best but my main concern is mom. She’s still panting hard and drinks a ton. I bought formula for the puppies and started to bottle feed them today I also gave her formula to help in case it’s low calcium. Is it normal for her to be panting still she is very restless and and looks uncomfortable.

  62. Doc says:

    Hello, Amy,
    I think it’s good that you are feeding the puppies with the formula.

    I am worried about the constant panting and restlessness. This could very well be the low calcium thing, in which case she needs to stop feeding the puppies.

    It is also possible for her to get an infection after having her babies.

    If she is still having problems, she really should see her veterinarian.

  63. Bhumika says:


    I’m in India. We have 2 Indian-mix breed females at home (4 yrs old), both spayed but each with one ovary left behind. We were told it helps keep the natural hormonal balance.

    For about 2-3 days now, one of my dogs has been lactating, is restless and panting and has tremors. Our regular vet has prescribed an oral calcium solution. My baby has never had a litter, and this is her second pseudopregnancy – if that’s what it is. Is it common for a dog to have such tremors during false pregnancy? Could it be something else? I’m really worried!

    Thanks so much in advance for your advice.

  64. Doc says:

    Hello, Bhumika,

    This leaving one ovary behind is not a common practice in the U.S.

    Tremors during pseudopregnancy are not common. They do sometimes lactate, but generally would not produce enough milk to cause eclampsia, as they are not being milked out (which is the stimulus to more milk production).

    I would wish to actually check the blood levels of calcium before making that diagnosis if the problem is persisting in spite of the supplementation.

    If the problem were persistent or worsening, I would also look for other causes of tremors, neurological ailments, possible exposure to insecticides and so forth.

  65. Jennifer Stipes says:

    Hey, my small Chihuahua Just had 4 puppies. She has always been very small and I noticed she does not have a lot of milk and at times almost nothing. She has a very good appetite just not drinking as much as she eats. What can I do? Or any advice to help her weight.

  66. Doc says:

    Hello, Jennifer,

    A high-quality puppy food is a good start. You can also supplement her with the formula people use to bottle-feed puppies.

    Well-fed puppies are either eating or sleeping. If they are crawling around crying, they need to be bottle-fed.

  67. SANDEEP says:

    Hello i got a new INDIAN GADDI breed (Tibetan mastiff) and this puppy is like 40 days old and now what I see that his front legs are coming a little bit outside and I concerned vet and he told this is calcium deficiency so I am giving him medicines now I just wanna ask that by giving medicines will his leg will come normal now , please do reply , thanking you SANDEEP

  68. Doc says:

    Hello, Sandeep,

    The best person to advise you is the doctor who is actually seeing your dog.

    I do think that the prognosis for being normal is excellent.

  69. Kristie says:

    Hi I have a small chi and before being pregnant she only weighed about 4 pounds but she just had two pups and the second born died a few hours later but her two main bottem teets are way bigger than the others could this be milk fever???

  70. Doc says:

    Hello, Kristie,

    If the mammary glands are hard, compared to the others, or red, or hot, or when you squeeze them the milk doesn’t look right, then you could have mastitis – an inflammation or infection of the breast tissue.

    It is possible that with just one pup she isn’t being milked out adequately.

    Let your veterinarian check this girl.

  71. Samantha says:

    Dr. I messed up. My 7 yor old overweight chi is pregnant. She had 6 pups when she was 1 1/2 and only fed them for 4 days due to milk fever. I never planned. On letting her get pregnant again. Should I let her try to feed, or take pups at birth or abort? She’s close to 4 weeks now.

  72. Doc says:

    Hello, Samantha,

    If it were me, I would see if I could get her spayed before she gets any farther along with the pregnancy. That way you won’t hae this problem again.

    If you veterinarian feels she is too far along for him/her ot be comfortable with this, you could consider abortion with prostaglandin injections.

    If she gives birth, you will need to bottle raise the puppies after the first day’s nursing (they need the first day’s milk, which is special – it is called colostrum, and this is when the mom transfers immunity to the puppies).

    She may still have problems with lactation.

  73. Amber says:

    I just got a 6 week old puppy, she is a chiweenie.. She is very playful & sweet.. She seems to be a very happy pup,
    But yesterday afternoon she started getting a really wobbly head… And she has no balance, she almost seemed lifeless, she was very wobbly and had trouble walking.. .. She has previously been on a 10-15 minute car ride to my parents house… So I assumed she was car sick? I gave her plenty of water and food.. Then snuggled her for a nap.. She seemed much better after that & I was super relived!
    Then today around the same time as yesterday (3:30/4:00 pm) I noticed her head start to wobble around and she had poor balance 🙁
    She didn’t go on a car ride today tho, I am really afraid that my puppy isn’t okay:/
    She is so tiny and I just want her to be okay… If you have any answers can you pretty please get back to me, possibly an email? 🙂 thank you in advanced… Sorry to bother.. But I am just really confused! It’s subday before memorial day so u don’t think the very is open, otherwise I would call.

  74. Lauren says:

    hello. My old english bulldog had puppies monday morning. The litter consists of 7 puppies. The mom is drinking plenty of water however, she is not eating a lot. I took her temp and it was 102.4. She has the green discharge it looks as if it is not turning a reddish color. Im worried cause she is still breathing heavy at time and when you let her out she pees and then walks and pees more and sometimes nothing comes out. Almost like she has uti. Any suggestion? I just dont know if all this is normal. Thanks

  75. Doc says:

    Hello, Amber,
    Sorry for the late reply, but I was in Africa for my daughter’s wedding.

    This sounds like it was probably low blood sugar. Tiny puppies (less than two pounds) often burn up their food and have no reserves.

    It is good to have a product like NutriCal around until they break two pounds. When they get woozy, give them Nutrical or honey or karo syrup until they perk up. Then feed them. They need to eat at least four times a day when they are that small. They are little high-performance engines who don’t have big enough gas tanks to last until the next meal sometimes.

  76. sandra tedford says:

    My dog is 8 years old and she has had two births and both times her back two breast swells up and she is not pregnant and for some reason her breast has been swelling and she has been nursing on them herself

  77. Doc says:

    Hello, Lauren,

    Sorry about the late reply, but I was abroad for my daughter’s wedding.

    102.4 is one degree above average normal, which is not significant.

    If your dog has not returned to a normal state, this is the sort of thing that can’t be handled “long distance”. You would need to see your veterinarian.

  78. Doc says:

    Hello, Sandra,

    It is common for the breasts to swell after a heat cycle, even when the dog hasn’t been exposed to a male, much less pregnant.

    The self-nursing behavior is unusual, but unlikely to be harmful.

    If there is continuing weirdness, you should let hour veterinarian examine her.

  79. be says:

    my lhasa had a litter of 8 eat well during pregnacy and lactation with no problems. Her second litter although fed on good food she did not eat much and after 8 pups were born still did not eat well and got eclampsia, treated at vets responded well and given oral calcium, her appetite improved and she fed the pups. She has just had 7 pups and although did not eat well in the last week did eat ok during pregnancy. Since they were born yesterday she is eating extremely well and I am giving oral liquid calcium. Anything else I can do??

  80. Doc says:

    Hello, Be,

    It may help if you do supplemental feeding of the puppies with formula to reduce the strain on mom.

    The main thing is to be alert for any signs of eclampsia, so that it can be treated early if it occurs.

    If eclampsia occurs, we usually ask folks to totally bottle feed the pups at that point so that mom will stop producing milk.

  81. Neasa Mooney says:


    I have a red setter who had nine puppy’s three weeks ago today. Two days ago she was unwell (stiffness in her back legs, tempature, geting sick, very pale colour) and the vet said it was eclampsia, she recieved two injections of Calcumium, and suplements to take daily along with anti biotics. she has improved since then but is still unwell, in that she is not eating much food, upset stomach, still very groggy and sleeping alot. She has lost alot of weight in the last few days. The vet never told me to stop her feeding the pups, but since reading about it we have stoped her, however she has gotten into feed them at times, and we have taken her out again. Should I take her back to the vet, or is there anything else I could do. Very worried out the little thing.

    Also we have supplemented the puppy feed with milk, they are now three weeks old, when can we start to give them mush. Is there anything else we could be doing to help them along, as im woried seeing as we are trying to keep there mother away from them.

  82. Doc says:

    Hello, Neasa,
    You can try the mush now, but they are more likely to eat it at four weeks.

    You should definitely take the mom back to her doctor. This is not going according to plan.

  83. Neasa Mooney says:

    as the vet didnt give me much info the fist time is there anything I should be asking about, in that she never told us to stop them feeding on her. At times she appears fine and gets up and runs around, but loses her energy very quickly.

    Is it normal for her to be on anti biotics also. What would a normal recovery be from this. All the info I can find is about the symptoms and treatment but noting about recovery.

  84. Doc says:

    Hello, again, Neasa,

    I haven’t seen your dog, so I really don’t know what is going on, and cannot give you specific advice.

    I will say that when clients don’t ask questions, I hope they understand what I have tried to explain. When they don’t, I do wish they would ask me then, or call back later. If I don’t hear from them, I think everything is okay.

    You need to tell your doctor what has been going on, and schedule a recheck examination.

  85. Rory Winton says:


    I have a havanese that gave birth to 3 healthy pups. She is feeding them, but I don’t see her drinking enough water. I have her on oral cal plus enough for her 6lb. weight. I noticed that she seems to be firm when I touch her nipples. I just don’t want her getting mastitis. I took her to the vet 2 days ago and she was fine, I’m just concerned what they should feel and look like. They seem to be a lot firmer than when I took her to the vet. She is feeding her pups and doesn’t seem to mind. I am concerned about her water intake.
    Thank you, Rory

  86. Doc says:

    Hello, Rory,
    Puppies at this age should be either sleeping or nursing. If they are crawling around crying, then they aren’t getting enough to eat.

    You should be able to squeeze a little milk from mom’s nipples. It should look like normal milk.

    The breast tissue shouldn’t be really sensitive to light pressure.

    If you are seeing things that don’t seem right to you, make another appointment with your veterinarian.

  87. Azenith Joie says:


    My mama dog has suffered eclampsia last few days ago, i am bottle feeding her puppies, my question is, if her breast has dried out (actually, not yet) can i bring back her pups to her care, will her breast produce milk again, thank you very much!

  88. Doc says:

    Hello, Azenith,

    Being nursed (milked) is the stimulus to continuing milk production. If the breasts are truly dry, nursing probably won’t bring them back into production. You would wish to monitor this, closely, though.

  89. ash says:

    Hello. My Staffies gave birth to her first litter 2 weeks ago. Since yesterday she is a little off. She seems to be coughing or having stomach spasms and then throws up a whitish coloured vomit. She is also panting heavily just before she vomits. What can I do to help her ?

  90. heidi Gilbert says:

    Hi I took my dog to vet early this morning as she started panting and back legs shaking and then she didn’t walk, I put cold flannels on her and she was fine at vets, temperature was niormal, pups not taking bottle and mum won’t let me feed her, I’m giving mum puppy food and baby milk, what do I do

  91. Doc says:

    If your veterinarian has recommended that you feed the pup, he/she should be able to show you how to feed with a stomach tube. This is not difficult once you know how.

  92. Felicia says:

    My dog is a small mix breed she had puppies 2 weeks ago out of the 8 she had she now only has 7, she is panting a lot and fells warm but its only during the day when its hot in the house she is eating fine and drinks a lot of water but her feeling warm and panting worries me and I’m not sure if this is her first litter because she was a stray that we took in how can i tell if she has milk fever?

  93. Doc says:

    Hello, Felicia,

    I understand your worry. Use a rectal thermometer to take her temperature. If it is 102.5 or below, I doubt you have a problem.

    If you were to see muscle twitching, that is much more significant, and would call for an emergency trip to your veterinarian.

  94. Cathy says:

    My Chihuahua had puppies 5weeks ago and now she is always peeing in the house sometimes her nipples are really hot does this mean anything or what should I do

  95. Doc says:

    Hello, Cathy,

    If these are changes from her usual routine, then I would recommend that you take her to your veterinarian for a checkup.

  96. Doc says:

    Hello, Brian,

    If your dog is still showing abnormal breathing, then I would definitely see your veterinarian.

    I would also try to start getting the puppies to eat some solid food, so that maybe you can wean them early. Sometimes we have success with putting some formula in a high-sided cookie-baking-sheet, then letting some puppy food soak in that. At first they just go wading in it, but a lot of times they will start eating it, and you can wean them a week or so early to take the stress off mom.

  97. Melissa bower says:

    Hi I have a female English bulldog she has 3 pups and a lot of milk when the puppies feed the milk comes out their nose the choke I was letting them eat a little then pulling them off so they could catch their breath but then they suckle harder when they start eating again and the same happens any advice.

  98. Doc says:

    Hello, Melissa,

    Step one would be to have your veterinarian examine the puppies. I would be concerned about some type of palate defect causing this.

  99. Keasha says:

    My bischon mix is 5 years old and just had her first litter 4 days ago. 5 pups total but 1 died. She will not leave the kennel for anything. Not even to go to the bathroom. We have to clean around her. She won’t let us really touch the pups so we don’t even know the sexes are. I’ve left food and water in her her kennel but for some reason she won’t touch it unless I put the bowl to her mouth and almost force her to eat and drink. She has had diarrhea for a couple days but I assumed it was because she wouldn’t eat the hard dog food so we switched it to soft food. She has this depressed look to her. It’s hard to describe but she doesn’t seem herself. I have yet to check her teats because she gives you this very aggressive look when you open the kennel to attempt anything concerning her or her pups. I’m concerned. What would you suggest

  100. Doc says:

    Hello, Keasha,
    Sorry to be so late in seeing this. I hope that by now you have taken her to your veterinarian. Something was far from normal here, and a thorough examination would be necessary to sort it out. I could not really have helped you without seeing her.

  101. Cortney says:

    My plott hound gave birth to 12 babies 3 weeks ago and she has officially stopped feeding. When she started nursing I had been giving her plenty of calcium with the puppy food I was feeding her to make sure she was giving her pups enough nutrition.. her utters are completely engulfed and its been a couple days. I feel like she is still trying to produce milk even though I’ve taken over with supplemented puppy formula and she is not seeing her pups. Tonight though, she has been pacing back and fourth and whining, almost a hurt whine, maybe she is in pain. I really can’t tell and I’m not really sure what to do at this point. This is her 3rd litter, and I’ve never had this problem with her with feeding and letting her dry up. She’s never acted this way before. Any suggestions?? Oh and before I end, I did get ‘drontal plus’ from the vet because I was worrying why she kept losing weight when had been eating so much, and all good puppy food. I don’t know if maybe this has something to do with her behavior.. Thanks

  102. Doc says:

    Hello, Cortney,

    This is not normal. When you remove the pups while she still is producing milk, that certainly can cause some discomfort.

    In this case, they were still nursing, and she quit producing milk. No milk plus swollen udder equals problem.

    You need to take her to your veterinarian. This sounds like mastitis (inflammation of the milk glands) and it can become VERY serious.

    I hope it isn’t serious, but this needs a hands-on exam.

  103. jessica says:

    i am not recommending this or telling anyone this is what you should do. My yorkie/chihuahua mix had an attack in middle of the night. we didnt have access to a cell phone for our vet and the er vet would not tell me how much money to bring just that i would have to have it all before they’d treat her,thats after i drive 40 miles to get there. so i was desperate,got milk,some calcium powder(for lizards),sugar(to replace energy) and gave it to her with a medicine dropper.slowly. i saw that they would likely use an anti seizure medication so i looked up the dosage for a dog her size for clonzapam.Crushed it and mixed it with milk in the dropper. I knew if i did nothing she would die. within 20 min the tremors stopped, within the hour she was scratching at the door to go out to potty. We are getting her fixed asap and pups are doing well, but that was to scary for me and for my son. He is 15 going on 30, cares about music and games but when his pup was sick, he melted. Some ppl dont have access to the services like you provide and we really need a solid “just in case” answer. There isnt any on the internet

  104. Doc says:

    Hello, Jessica,

    I am glad that your dog responded to this. They do sell an oral rescue product that is a rapidly absorbed calcium gel, and you may have achieved the same effect with what you did.

    Intravenous calcium injection is often the only effective treatment, and it must be given slowly and carefully – too fast, and you can cause the heart to fail.

    I have had patients that required as much as three times the usual dose for a dog her size.

    It is important that you hand-feed the puppies and let her udder dry up, and quit producing milk. As long as they are nursing her, there is a very significant chance the problem would recur.

  105. Mercedes Jones says:

    Hello my name is Mercedes o have a pitbull mix she just had puppies on the 19 of February and today they started throwing up curtailed milk my pit is eating and drinking but she has the runs idk what to do she still feeds the puppies and every thing

  106. Doc says:

    Hello, Mercedes,

    That should not be happening. I would be concerned that the mom has mastitis (an infection in her milk glands). You should get her to your veterinarian.

  107. Doc says:

    Hello, Emmanuel,

    They can be fed with a baby bottle or a syringe. An eye dropper would work, but wouldn’t hold very much. Feed about four times daily, as much as they will take.

    There are commercial milk-replacers available, like Veta-Lac. For short term, you can make a formula with 6 ounces of whole milk, plus one egg yolk, plus one teaspoon of corn syrup.

  108. Tracey hol says:

    Hi just read this and thanks, my Cockapoo had a litter of 10 2 weeks ago and has just had eclampsia tonight. It is a very scary thing. Luckily we rushed her to our vets who has her on iv fluids and a slow calcium drip and wet towels. She had a temp of 107 and was going into seizure. From now on we have to bottle feed 10 puppies, but our other dog has stepped up and is trying to feed puppies and us toileting them. Will she produce milk!

  109. Doc says:

    Hello< Tracey, Great to see the other dog trying to care for them, but I'm not optimistic about her producing milk.

  110. Brandy says:

    My dog had puppies on the 28th of May and right after having them she seemed thin well now her stomach is extremely large looks like she did before giving birth and feels right should I be worried ??

  111. Doc says:

    Hello, Brandy,
    Sorry to be so late in replying. An extremely large abdomen at this point would make me worried about the possibility of a uterine infection. If you have not yet taken her to your veterinarian for an examination, I would recommend doing so.

  112. Debbie mcElwain says:

    My boxer gave birth on fourth of July to ten nine survived she seems to be panting a lot but other than that seems fine she’s eating and drinking water from time to time she shivers she is a very good mom she is four years old this I’d her first litter is all this normal?

  113. Doc says:

    Hello, Debbie,
    Sorry to be so late in replying. You haven’t described anything that worries me. I suspect that by now things have settled down.

    If she doesn’t appear to be doing just right, you should let a veterinarian actually look at her.

  114. Danny Vera says:

    My 11 year old chihuahua is purposely pressing against her nipples to lick the milk discharge. Could she suffer from low calcium levels?

  115. Doc says:

    Hello, Danny,
    That is possible, but I would also be concerned about discomfort in the area. Mastitis is the name for inflammation or infection in the breast tissue.

    I would recommend a checkup with your veterinarian.

  116. Amber says:

    Hello. I have an American Staffordshire terrier, she gave birth almost 5 weeks ago. I took her to the vet 2 days after she had her litter of 9. This is her first litter. She was very low energy and was very very thin. All in all she lost 30 pounds and just looked so terrible. He gave her calcium, and iron and gave me some urgent diet doft food and dewormer. She started acting much better and began looking better. Now she is sooo thin again and keeps panting and drinking more water than normal. We are not sure what to do. We have also been feeding her high quality puppy food since she was pregnant. Please any advice would be great. Puppies all look great!

  117. Doc says:

    You should be feeding those puppies now. They are a huge drain on mom. If they won’t eat softened puppy food, then put milk formula with puppy food in it in a large high-sided cooking tray. They may just wade in it at first, but should start eating soon.

    Nine puppies nursing is a huge drain.

    I would also get mom rechecked, she may need to have a follow-up deworming as well.

    It is also possible that she has developed a uterine infection. Your veterinarian can perform a complete blood count to screen for this, which would also check to see if she is anemic.

  118. Mike says:

    My pet bull just had her first litter an pups two weeks she vomited white stuff an she won’t drink or eat one of her breast is hard is this Matris or calcium issue only one day .

  119. Doc says:

    Hello, Mike,
    It sounds like your dog has mastitis – an inflammation of the breast tissue. It’s time to get her to see your veterinarian.

  120. Pippa Lomax says:

    My mini dachshund had 3 puppies a week ago, they are feeding well & putting on weight. The problem is she has one mamary gland that is lumpy, hard, not red & looks as they do not suckle from it much, is it the start of mastitis?

  121. Vanessa Y says:

    Hi there,

    My dog just had eclampsia and was released from the hospital night before last. The vet said keep pups away from the mom for 2 weeks. Yesterday a pet rescue place said 24 hours then reunite them. Another source said 4 days. Which is it? I just want to make sure that we don’t reunite them too soon. I heard that even making milk by being near them can cause a relapse. Please help

  122. Doc says:

    Hello, Vanessa,
    Dogs who have this problem typically relapse if you allow the puppies to continue nursing. Their body just doesn’t properly handle the demands of nursing.

    The puppies should be bottle fed, and she should not be allowed to nurse them. Your veterinarian’s recommendation will allow the buildup of pressure in her udder to stop the production of milk. This is the only way to get her to stop producing milk (no nursing, buildup of pressure). That is what is necessary to prevent a recurrence of the eclampsia.

    She should not be bred again, as the problem is almost certain to recur with future litters.

  123. Jaime says:

    My Chihuahua dog had 6 puppies and she had a seizure 3 days ago i wasn’t able to take her to a vet but I got her tums and milk and eggs and gave them to her ….she is fine now she even poops only thing worries me is that she isn’t walking yet and she always wants to nurse her dogs or she will cry if she’s not with her puppies…..what can I do to he’ll her walk is there anything else k can give her?

  124. Doc says:

    Hello, Jaime,
    I don’t really know how to advise you without seeing your dog.

    Generally speaking, dogs that have had eclampsia do best if they quit nursing so their milk dries up, meaning that you have to hand-feed the pups.

    Being unable to walk after 3 days is very unusual. I really think you need to see a veterinarian. I don’t have a good explanation for that.

  125. Michelle says:

    Omg my man rescue female has 3 after32 hrs 2 still born 12 hr then I had to pull one out of her 10 hours later she had two of the largest she struggled with milk the puppies and being wrong for I fed her puppy all that the puppies have been wrong for three four weeks they were born on Memorial Day she’s acting funny she we’ve changed dog food and my man mixed it I am and adult and a Hill Country Fare brand puppy dry food the puppies are eating not now but there’s a split on the top lip that I never noticed was so deep she’s been puking I’ve been giving her separate puppy adult chow what else what he’s mixed with them all together and stuff like that I’m just worried

  126. Doc says:

    Hello, Michelle,
    Your lack of punctuation makes it difficult to follow what you are telling me and what it is that you are asking.

    It sounds like she had trouble delivering the puppies, and that they have not been doing well for several weeks.

    I don’t think that this would be due to a change of food, if that’s what you are asking. I would be more concerned about having the puppies checked for parasites or other illnesses.

    It sounds as though the one pup you describe with deep split lip may actually have a hare-lip and cleft palate. This is a birth defect in the roof of the mouth that lets food up into the nose. It requires a very good surgeon to correct this condition.

  127. Jay says:

    Hi my GSD had 6 puppies 10 days ago. Everything seems ok with her after that. couple of days ago she start limping on her back legs and now her back legs seems even weaker. We check her temperature which is 102, she eats,drinks and rest ok. We feed her puppy food with puppy milk also a bit yogurt and dog calcium supplement. is it normal for whelping dog limp on their legs or there is sth I should worry about? thank you very much.

  128. Doc says:

    Hello, Jay,

    This doesn’t sound like a low blood calcium problem, but it is not normal, either.

    I would recommend that you see your veterinarian.

  129. Amber Noto says:

    Our Red Heeler had 11 puppies for her first time litter 2 weeks ago. The puppies are all really healthy. She’s been fine so far, we feed a lot of puppy food to her (as much as she wants) and I give her 2 multi-vitamins a day. Earlier in the day today she seemed tired and sore. Tonight around 2AM she woke me panting heavily and twitching. Her heart was racing. I gave her 2 big bowls of whole milk and she’s totally fine now. I closed the door to the pups just to be safe but do you recommend her not nursing until I take her to the vet to confirm?

  130. Doc says:

    Hello, Amber,
    Sorry I didn’t get a chance to see this earlier. I hope that you have seen your veterinarian by now. I would have recommended stopping the nursing until you could get there.

  131. Funkie says:

    Good day! I need some help. My dog is shivering and limping or we suspected that it’s an enclampsia. Is there any first aid I can provide? Because there’s no vet open right now. It’s already 9pm in our end. All vets are closed. We need to wait for tomorrow. Thank you

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Funkie,

      If your dog is nursing puppies, the first thing to do is get the puppies away from her and start bottle feeding. I don’t know any home remedies to boost her blood calcium significantly.

  132. Dee says:

    Hi. I treated my dog for eclampsia at an emergency vet 2 nights ago. When they discharged her they said her temp was still abit high but otherwise she was well. She is still panting on and off and has a high temperature but no shivers. Should I wait it out or take her to a vet again. Her puppies are now fully bottle fed and will be till they are weaned but can I allow her next to them not to nurse just to see them as she is crying for them alot. I will be sure to prevent them from nursing but the vet told me even hearing her puppies cry can stimulate her to produce milk. Is this correct?

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Dee,
      I have been very much behind on handling comments, so I hope that your baby is okay now.
      It is possible that the sights and sounds of the puppies’ presence can stimulate milk production, so I agree with your doctor.
      We usually say that the stimulus to milk production is being milked out, and the build-up of pressure in the mammary glands is what stops the milk production.

  133. Kaitlyn hamelin says:

    My lactating mom will not put on weight she is skin and bones and last night she started vomiting and has been all day I took the puppies away they are 5 weeks in 2 days I’m worried I don’t know what to do to help her or stop the vomiting

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Kaitlyn,
      I would be very concerned that there is a uterine infection. She needs to see a veterinarian in person. She needs supportive care, and possibly a hysterectomy.

  134. Aly says:

    Hi I just adopted a rescue who seems to have ptsd from prior abuse and neglect. She had delivered a single dead puppy 2 weeks ago but now (2nd day of having her) she seems to have extreme difficulty “coming too” after laying down for a bit or sleeping. She doesn’t like to play (couch potato is what they said at shelter she would just like to lay near me at all times rather than play) could there be anything of this sort in her case?

  135. Steve Garrett Pelton says:

    Hello my serenity hasn’t had pups in years but still lactates an has been getting seizures cpl times this past year round the same time we’ve noticed the lactating we also catch her trying to lick them alot like she’s nursing off her self and we just found a lump in one breast

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Steve,
      I’ve gotten behind again, sorry. In a case like you describe, I would be seeking the advice of your veterinarian. You may need to have a breast tumor removed, and have the dog spayed to stop the repeated hormone cycling at this age. It increases her risk of breast tumors, and of a uterine infection.

  136. Caleb says:

    Looks like you haven’t needed to reply in over a year, so this is a shot in the dark. My 4.5 lbs chihuahua had two puppies 4 days ago. She started panting two days after, so I brought her into the vet out of an abundance of caution and the blood test came back as actually a bit high in calcium. Tonight, she’s panting, pacing around, and rubbing her face against her bedding. At the moment she’s resting and all seems well. She goes between moments of restlessness occasionally to seeming completely fine most of the time. I’m not sure what to make of it. I’ll keep monitoring her, but between the very recent blood test and what I’m seeing, I’m not sure whether she’s acting normal for a postpartum dog or I’m paranoid. To be fair, she’s never panted, even during her labor, and I’ve never seen rub her face like I did tonight for a few minutes straight. Thanks I’m advance for weighing in, if I’m really concerned I’ll take her in anyhow.

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Caleb,
      Sorry I got behind on this stuff. You description makes me wonder if she is having some other painful or irritating condition (like an allergic reaction or contact sensitivity). This is not typical for eclampsia (and the normal calcium makes that unlikely).

      I hope things are improving.

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