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.
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.