cat or dog as pet

Understanding Postpartum Hypocalcemia in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Postpartum hypocalcemia, also known as milk fever, is a common metabolic disorder in lactating dogs. It occurs when the calcium level in the blood drops below normal, leading to muscle tremors, seizures, and even death. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments of postpartum hypocalcemia in dogs.

Symptoms of Postpartum Hypocalcemia in Dogs

The symptoms of postpartum hypocalcemia in dogs usually appear within the first few days after giving birth. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Muscle tremors and stiffness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting and rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Weakness and lethargy

Causes of Postpartum Hypocalcemia in Dogs

Postpartum hypocalcemia in dogs is caused by a sudden drop in blood calcium levels. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Insufficient dietary calcium intake during pregnancy and lactation
  • Inadequate vitamin D levels, which are necessary for calcium absorption
  • Excessive milk production, which can deplete calcium reserves in the body
  • Breed predisposition, as some breeds are more prone to developing postpartum hypocalcemia than others

Treatments for Postpartum Hypocalcemia in Dogs

The treatment for postpartum hypocalcemia in dogs involves restoring the calcium level in the blood to normal. This can be achieved through:

  • Oral or intravenous calcium supplementation
  • Reducing milk production through medication or manually expressing milk
  • Increasing dietary calcium intake through calcium-rich foods or supplements
  • Treating underlying conditions that may be contributing to the hypocalcemia

It is important to note that prompt and adequate treatment is crucial in preventing complications and ensuring a full recovery.


Q: Can postpartum hypocalcemia be prevented in dogs?

A: Yes, postpartum hypocalcemia can be prevented in dogs by ensuring a balanced diet during pregnancy and lactation, supplementing with calcium and vitamin D if necessary, and monitoring calcium levels closely after giving birth.

Q: How long does it take for a dog to recover from postpartum hypocalcemia?

A: With prompt and adequate treatment, most dogs can recover from postpartum hypocalcemia within a few hours to a few days.

Q: Is postpartum hypocalcemia a recurring condition in dogs?

A: Yes, dogs that have had postpartum hypocalcemia are at a higher risk of developing it again in subsequent pregnancies. It is important to monitor calcium levels closely and take preventive measures to avoid recurrence.

In conclusion, postpartum hypocalcemia is a serious condition that can have fatal consequences if left untreated. Early recognition of symptoms, prompt treatment, and preventive measures can help ensure a full recovery and prevent recurrence.