You are here:

Ask the Veterinarian/Nursing dog panting


My chihuahua gave birth to 5 puppies 21 days ago. A week ago, she got into the trash and was experiencing shaking, panting, stiff back legs, and slight disorientation. I did quite a bit of Internet searching and most things said to wait it out 24 hours. Within 24 hours she was back to her normal self as if nothing had ever happened. Since yesterday I have noticed that she is panting quite a bit. There is no shaking, no stiff gait, really nothing abnormal other than panting and occasional rapid breathing when she is laying down. She is nursing, eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom just fine. It is very hot in our area and I have been trying to keep her cool and have fresh water available to her at all times... But I can't seem to shake the feeling that this panting just isn't normal. She seems restless; I'm not sure if she is hot or if something is going on. Any advice?

Hi Staci,

Looks like a case of Postpartum Eclampsia in Dogs.Eclampsia is a deficiency of blood calcium (hypocalcemia) that develops in the weeks after giving birth, although it may develop prior to birth or during lactation.This disease most often occurs with first litters and in toy breeds. Chihuahuas, miniature pinschers, shih-tzus, miniature poodles, Mexican hairless dogs and pomeranians are at increased risk for eclampsia. However, puppies are often not affected by eclampsia because their nutritional needs, including calcium, are being taken care of by their mother.
This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, but it can be treated quickly and the dog's health stabilized if she is treated as soon as symptoms become apparent. If your dog has a high fever, your veterinarian will try to cool her down with a cool water soak and fan to bring the body temperature down to a normal range. Your veterinarian will treat your dog with intravenous calcium until her levels have increased to a safe level, and until her body alone is able to maintain calcium levels.
Your veterinarian will advise you to take the puppies away to prevent them from nursing, to be hand fed with a commercial milk for 24 hours, or until the mother’s serum calcium is stabilized. If, after the mother stabilizes, you opt to let the puppies continue nursing, you will need to return to your veterinarian to monitor calcium levels in your dog's blood. Depending on whether her body is able to begin producing sufficient amounts of calcium on its own, she may need to remain on calcium supplements for some time. Your doctor will determine this.
I think you need to consult your vet for further evaluation.

regards and all the best

Ask the Veterinarian

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr S Bindu Anand


Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine


A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention-Boston University School of Public Health. Bioterrorism, Bioterrorism Preparedness-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Good Clinical Practice-London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

©2017 All rights reserved.