Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Puerperal tetany

Synonym(s): Eclampsia

Contributor(s): Craig Johnson, Cheri Johnson

Introduction

  • Cause: neurological condition due to hypocalcemia.
  • Signs: apprehension, ataxia, muscular tremors, spasms, panting and then tetany and convulsions. Tachycardia and fever in lactating female.
  • Diagnosis: signs, biochemistry.
  • Treatment: intravenous calcium.
  • Prognosis: good if treated promptly.
Print off the owner factsheet Eclampsia (puerperal tetany) Eclampsia (puerperal tetany) to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Hypocalcemia causing panting, restlessness, ataxia and muscle tremors that can rapidly progress to tetany, convusions, hyperthermia and death.

Specific

  • Heavy lactation.
  • Large litters.
  • Small breeds.

Pathophysiology

  • A potentially life-threatening condition resulting from hypocalcemia during the periparturient period.
  • Not well understood.
  • Onset of lactation promotes calcium loss which is too great for homeostatic mechanisms to replace.
  • Previous calcium loss to fetuses may be significant.
  • Imbalance between the calcium utilization by the dam to support pregnancy and lactation and calcium absorption from gut and reabsorption from kidney and bone, resulting in hypocalcemia. Therefore, the clinical signs develop most often during peak lactation, in small bitches nursing large litters.
  • It can occur in any size dog with any size litter, at any time during lactation. Rarely it occurs during late gestation.

Timecourse

  • Within 3 weeks of whelping.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Drobatz K J & Casey K K (2000) Eclampsia in dogs - 31 cases (1995-1998). JAVMA 217 (2), 216-219 PubMed.
  • Aroch I, Srebro H & Shpigel N Y (1999) Serum electrolyte concentrations in bitches with eclampsia. Vet Rec 145 (11), 318-320 PubMed.
  • Frascetti A A & Hickman M A (1999) Preparturient hypocalcaemia in four cats. JAVMA 215 (8), 1127-1129 PubMed.
  • Wallace M S (1994) Management of parturition and problems of the periparturient period of dogs and cats. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) 9 (1), 28-37 PubMed.


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