Jennifer’s Calcium Journey
May 2, 2018
“It was terrifying to see one of my new moms begin to have seizures. Then when another of my moms started acting odd, I became really worried. These dogs are my passion and my love. I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t know how to stop it,” says Jennifer, a dog breeder of 30 years.
In 2016, Jennifer imported two female Great Dane puppies from Hungary. She named them Elsa and Emma. Two years later, both became pregnant with their first litters and together they gave birth to 18 Great Dane puppies. Jennifer was thrilled.
But two days after the puppies arrived something began to happen. “Elsa’s legs became unstable. She couldn’t even stand up and when I tried to move her she would have a seizure. Meanwhile, her sister Emma was acting strange too. She was hiding, pushing around her puppies and even picking them up by their legs. I had never seen neurotic behavior like this before. She just wasn’t being a sweet, caring mother,” she recalls.
Jennifer called her vet and brought in all 130 pounds of Elsa to be checked out. “We thought it might be eclampsia. My vet told me to pull her litter from her and to begin bottle feeding. He told me she wouldn’t be able to raise her babies and she would never be able to be bred again. I was devastated,” Jennifer recalls.
Jennifer began bottle feeding the puppies and gave Elsa calcium supplements; however, Jennifer wasn’t ready to just give up. It was at this point she called Revival where she talked with Dr. Bramlage, Revival’s former Director of Veterinary Services, and Michelle, a Pet Care Pro. “When Jennifer called in, there was so much panic in her voice I just wanted to help her! She sounded so upset and at a loss as to how to help her mom. She was also trying to comprehend having to raise the babies on her own. I assured her once we got her mom’s calcium up, she would be able to get them back on mom; that was the goal.” Michelle says.
Jennifer took all of Michelle and Dr. B’s advice. After discovering how calcium and probiotics would help her moms get back on track, Jennifer ordered Doc Roy’s® Healthy Bones, Breeder’s Edge® Oral Cal Plus and Doc Roy’s® GI Synbiotics to arrive the next day. “I started giving both of these moms all of these products and after just two days, they were back to their normal selves, being wonderful, calm, lovey moms. Elsa took her litter right back,” Jennifer says.
Calcium deficiencies leading to eclampsia do happen often, but as Michelle adds, this condition is preventable. “I manage my own corgi moms just as I had Jennifer do. My goal is to use a calcium gel supplement such as Oral Cal Plus, so moms are never in a calcium deficiency. This helps ensure whelping is smooth and efficient and nursing is non-stressful. If we prevent eclampsia, you never have to treat it,” Michelle says.
“If I hadn’t made that phone call to Revival, I would have been bottle feeding a lot of puppies and this would have been Elsa’s only litter,” Jennifer says.
Helping new moms during pregnancy, whelping and post whelping is nothing new for Jennifer. But a calcium deficiency was something she had never experienced before. “As long as I’ve been breeding dogs, no one has ever told me this before,” Jennifer says. And when asked what advice she would give to others going through a similar situation she says; “Make sure all your moms are getting an adequate calcium supplement they need during whelping and lactating. I now have a healthy grasp as to what my expecting mothers require. I tell people instead of dealing with this type of situation, prevent it so it never has to happen to you.”
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Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.