Diabetic Shock in Dogs

A diabetic shock occurs when a dog with diabetes has low blood sugar. This condition may manifest through seizures, unconsciousness, coma and may also be fatal. The diabetic shock often occurs due to a reaction to an insulin overdose, so it's important to administer the insulin only in the recommended doses. However, a diabetic shock may also occur when the dog fails to eat at normal hours or when he exercises for too long.

Causes of Diabetic Shock

A diabetic shock occurs in dogs that are diagnosed with diabetes, and indicates a condition determined by a low level of glucose in the blood or hypoglycemia. The condition may be caused by:

  • An overdose of insulin, if you administer too much or the prescribed dose is too high
  • Excessive exercise that will cause a decrease of the glucose levels in the blood
  • If the dog skips a meal, this will result in an immediate drop in the blood sugar; even a one-hour delay of the meal may result in low levels of glycemia
  • Excitement may also lead to a diabetic shock

Symptoms of Diabetic Shock

Not all dogs that have a diabetic shock develop symptoms. However, if your pet has symptoms, these may include:

  • General state of weakness
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Lack of interest in playing
  • Excessive sweating, visible on the nose and the paw pads
  • Sudden collapse
  • Unusual tilting of the head
  • The dog may be hungry and ask for treats or food
  • The dog may fail to coordinate his movements
  • Seizures, in more advanced cases
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Coma

How to Respond to Diabetic Shock

When you notice that your diabetic dog displays some of the symptoms that are specific for a diabetic shock, you will have to act immediately, to prevent death. You will have to administer sugar to your dog, so that the levels of glycemia will become normal again. Give 2 to 3 Tbsp. of honey or maple syrup to your pet and try to place the honey under the dog's tongue, so it will enter the bloodstream faster. You should also make sure your dog eats and stop administering insulin. Consult your vet. If your dog is unconscious, rub the syrup or honey on his gums and rush to the vet.

Preventing a Diabetic Shock

You need to be aware that your dog can develop a diabetic shock at any time, and have some honey or syrup for emergency situations. You also need to know about the triggers that lead to a diabetic shock and try to avoid these. Make sure your dog gets only the prescribed amount of insulin and eats according to a strict schedule. Don't skip meals and if you are traveling, make sure your dog has treats and meals in his crate.