Calcium Related Issues in Dogs after WhelpingMost people understand the importance of calcium in dogs during labor and milking. The short story is do not give supplemental calcium before labor, and once early labor begins, you should provide balanced calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium supplements. The goal is to get three to four doses of calcium in mom before the first puppy hits the ground. We know milk production increases gradually 10 to 14 days post whelping, so milk fever or Eclampsia can happen at that time. In the last 24 months, we have seen a different set of issues surface for moms after whelping.
These calcium-related problems include:
- Four-week nursing milk fever
- Shaking or seizing
- Jitteriness; moms constantly up and down, unable to relax their bodies
- Not allowing nursing because of extreme anxiety
- Laying on their tummies instead of their sides, preventing babies from eating
- Overprotectiveness to the point of eating their babies
Ranging from frustrating to disturbing, these behaviors and symptoms need to be corrected at once. None of these calcium issues occur consistently; however, they respond to Breeders Edge Oral Cal Plus initially and then Healthy Bones daily while nursing. The big issue is quickly recognizing this set of unusual problems and then treating before babies are lost.
When you suspect a calcium issue, double the dose of oral calcium gel (Breeders Edge Oral Cal Plus) and repeat in 30 minutes if it does not appear to resolve the issue. These moms usually respond well and return to normal quickly, but dose again in six hours to make sure we don't relapse. Give Healthy Bones supplement or a similar calcium supplement until nursing is stopped to prevent regression. Likely, this calcium deficiency has come on slowly and needs to be corrected over several weeks. Mom will replace the calcium stores in her bones, but that takes time.
We don't know why we are getting more issues with calcium, but always remember, good moms who milk hard are the most vulnerable to calcium deficiency.
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.