Insulin Shock in Dogs

An insulin shock is due to high levels of insulin in the blood, which also cause extremely low blood sugar. The condition may occur in dogs that suffer from diabetes and are under insulin treatment, but may also be seen in dogs that have a pancreas disorder. An insulin shock may be extremely dangerous and even fatal, so it’s important to prevent it or notice its symptoms, so that the dog can get help.

Causes of Insulin Shock

An insulin shock is often seen in dogs with diabetes. Diabetes in dogs is caused by a deficiency of insulin in the body. The treatment is made up of insulin shots that are administered either daily or several times per week. If the dose is too high or the dog receives more insulin than the vet prescribed, this can lead to an insulin shock. This is often a result of human error.

Other possible causes of an insulin shock may include:

  • A pancreatic disorder
  • A tumor affecting the pancreas
  • A genetic disorder

Symptoms of Dog Insulin Shock

The insulin shock will cause low blood glucose and a decreased body temperature. The dog will display a few symptoms such as:

  • Shaking and tremors
  • Slow heart rate
  • Pale gums
  • Cold limbs
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Coma, only in severe cases

Diagnosing an Insulin Shock in a Dog

Since the insulin shock requires emergency treatment, there is no time for a diagnosis procedure, so the vet will establish if the dog has an insulin shock judging by his symptoms. A quick blood test may be performed to detect if there are low levels of blood sugar.

If your dog is diabetic, you can detect hypoglycemia with your blood glucose testing kit.

Insulin Shock Emergency Treatment

A dog with insulin shock should receive emergency treatment, which you can administer at home. The dog should receive sugar, corn syrup, honey or maple syrup. Rob the syrup on the dog’s gums. This is the emergency treatment administered in the case of low blood sugar. If the dog’s condition is not improving, you can repeat the treatment every 60 minutes. You should also visit your vet, who can administer IV fluids and establish if the condition has caused any damage.

Preventing Insulin Shock

An insulin shock may be prevented in diabetic dogs. It’s important to administer the prescribed doses at the recommended times. You should never give a higher dose of insulin, as this can cause an insulin shock. Don’t change the dose, even if you still notice that your dog is having diabetes symptoms. Simply visit the vet and he will adjust the dose if needed. Also, if you miss an insulin shot, you should not give a double dose at the next scheduled time. Administer the injection when you remember it and if the next scheduled time is only a 1 to 2 hours apart, simply skip the dose and administer 1 shot only.