Hypoglycemia in Pets

I have a really strong memory from childhood: My diabetic father always carried hard candy or little sugar packets in case he’d experience a sugar drop. Once, when walking through a business district, he witnessed someone seizing and shaking, immediately recognized it as a hypoglycemic attack and gave that person a hard candy.The symptoms immediately stopped and the person was taken to the hospital. EMTs told him he had saved a life.

Yes, hypoglycemia is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death–for the 4-legged as well as the 2-legged. Recognize the symptoms in both dogs and cats; the cause of hypoglycemia can range from something as simple as not eating enough during the day to a side effect of medication to a serious underlying condition–but a visit to the vet is always warranted.

“Any adult dog that is having hypoglycemic episodes should be checked thoroughly by a vet including blood work and abdominal ultrasounds to rule out pancreatic cancer, insulin producing tumors or other conditions that could result in abnormal blood sugar regulation,” said Dr. Catherine Reid, D.V.M.

The severity of symptoms depends upon the amount of the glucose drop.

In dogs: lethargy, weakness, disorientation, stupor, wobbling when walking, unbalance, excessive hunger,restlessness, shivering/shaking, convulsions or seizures and coma.

In cats: sleepiness and inability to wake, glassy eyes, drooling, coughing, excessive meowing or crying.  Sometimes they’ll even get aggressive.

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Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified health and nutrition coach and she is a wellness expert for both the 4-legged and the 2-legged.  For more information, please visit her website:  www.irenefross.com.  She also writes a free, twice-monthly newsletter, “Power Wellness,” with information, suggestions and recipes for healthy nutrition and lifestyle.  To subscribe, click here.

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Pets May Help Autistic Children With Socialization Skills, Study Shows

Just more proof of the way pets can help humans: French researchers studied 260 autistic children and found that giving them a cuddly pet after age five could actually aid socialization, suggesting that introducing companion animals to the autistic child might also help with human bonding.

The key seems to be the arrival of the animal; those children who grew up with pets were not affected.

Bringing a pet into the home not only calmed, but increased, the child’s ability to share and to comfort; those are two skills that autistic children often lack, because they depend on the ability to understand people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions–and then be able to empathize with them. While the pet doesn’t necessarily need any extra training, some do use therapy dogs..

While no one really knows why timing is so important,  one thought is that the autistic child may just see pre-existing pets as part of the background, or that the pets may already be more strongly bonded with other family members by the time the child enters the household.

Some also suspect that the arrival of a pet might strengthen the family bond and increases interaction, giving the child the opportunity to see petting, cuddling and other responses.

“In individuals with autism, pet arrival in the family setting may bring about changes in specific aspects of their socio-emotional development,” the researchers wrote in their study, according to Web MD.

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Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and health coach who refers to herself as the wellness expert for both the 2-legged and 4-legged.  Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is: www.irenefross.com.

Her twice-monthly, free newsletter, “Power Wellness” is full of tips, recipes and other information for healthy nutrition and living.  Subscribe here.