Owners of hunting dogs must be aware of a condition called Exertional Hypoglycemia or Hunting dog Hypoglycemia. The chances of developing this disorder are much more higher in high strung dogs that are anxious and nervous in nature. These dogs tend to be overstimulated and hyperactive. When you add to this temperament the fact that the dog has been unconditioned or in under words the dog is under exercised, you may have a recipe for disaster.
Hypoglycemia in hunting dogs develops when the dog's blood glucose levels go under 50. Blood glucose is an important energy source, and in hunting dog Hypoglycemia the dog's brain is often deprived from it. The difficulty seems to occur when the dog 's body is unable to convert glycogen to glucose in a timely matter to satisfy the dog's energy needs.
Affected dogs will exhibit the following symptoms:
Most dogs will appear to be disoriented and act like something is not right. Others may have a full course of seizures that will leave them exhausted. Coma and death is not that common but it can occur in severe cases without treatment.
Treatment of Hypoglycemia in Hunting Dogs
Luckily, the condition can often be reversed. Treatment consists of providing the dogs with the glucose their body is in need. This can be accomplished by providing the glucose orally. Severe cases may require intravenous glucose. Most dogs recover rapidly after rubbing some Karo syrup on their gums. They do not need to actually swallow it, their gums will absorb the glucose promptly. As an alternative, honey or real 100% fruit juice with no artificial sweeteners may help as well. Some hunters bring along Energy bars to feed their dogs however, one must be careful that they do not contain macadamia nuts, chocolate or raisins which may be potentially harmful.
Prevention of Hypoglycemia in Hunting Dog Hypoglycemia
The blood glucose crisis is a scary enough experience for both dog and owner, so owners may wonder what can be done to prevent this from happening again. Some dogs seem to have less and less occurrences and tend to outgrow it if it appears in their early years. Others may continue to have such crisis. Some have underlying disorders that may trigger such attacks, therefore further diagnostic tests are strongly recommended. Stopping the dog every now and then and offering some food may help prevent this disorder from happening. Working on conditioning the dog before going to hunt will keep the dog in top shape. A high protein and high carbohydrate diet with a good amount of fats fed several times a day may provide the energy sources these dogs need. It is helpful to consult with a veterinarian about finding an appropriate diet.
All hunters should therefore, should be encouraged to carry along an emergency kit for their dogs. It should of course contain all first aid products but it should also include high calorie food sources and glucose to reverse the Hypoglycemia.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 31, 2011:
Very useful hub indeed. I will share this with my friends in the Middle East as they tend to use hunting dogs a lot.
India Arnold from Northern, California on July 26, 2010:
This is really good information. Labs are such a cool breed and this illness is really scary for them and their owners I am sure. I am linking to this hub in my newest hub on hunters and hunting dogs. Thanks for a great hub!