When a female dog develops eclampsia, restlessness is typically the first sign, followed by a change in gait, vomiting, diarrhea and fever, according to PerEducation.com. Additional symptoms include panting, weakness, stumbling and disorientation. Eventually, it can lead to tremors, seizures and death.
Eclampsia is a life-threatening illness that requires immediate medical attention, says PetEducation.com. It is most commonly seen in female dogs within the first five weeks of delivering a puppy. As the dam starts to produce milk, the level of calcium in her blood drops, creating a lack of calcium in the body.
Calcium release is regulated by the parathyroid gland. In dogs with an underactive parathyroid gland, calcium is not triggered to be released from the bone marrow as it should be, explains PetMD. As the production of milk increases the body's demand for calcium, other body systems go without the necessary nutrient. This leads to the contraction of the skeletal muscles.
While this condition can occur in any dog, it tends to be most common in smaller dogs or ones who are having their first litter of puppies, notes PetMD. While the dam suffers from this condition, it is not something that is passed on to the puppies. The dam's calcium supply is traveling to the milk, ensuring that the puppies are receiving the proper nutrients from the dam.