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Thread: Eclampsia

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sydney Australia


    Eclampsia is the scariest thing that can happen to you - its the speed with which it happens that is terrifying. I had ecampsia frequently when I started with Cavaliers, having come from Dobermans where extra calcium was the norm. Took me several episodes before I reaized what I was doing. No extra liquid or tablet calcium now - I just make sure the bitches have plenty of good food (RC Puppy formula, Wellness Puppy formula etc from the time they are mated) and they get raw meat and plenty of cheese. Interesting Jane's vet suggested this too.

    Like Jane I have the bitches whelp and raise the puppies in the kitchen/family room where I can keep a close eye on them as I come and go during the day. There is also a sofa in the living room wheree I can sleep if necessary. I dont let the other dogs into the kitchen when the babies are very little and have a sheet around the pen to give the bitch some privacy. So the puppies are never isolated and they see lots of visitors right from birth - well the babies cant see for the first couple of weeks but you now what I mean VBG



  2. #12


    I thought I'd add that that particular vet was an "old timer" of sorts, he was at least 20 years older than me. He had miniature long Haired Dachshunds, and did breed the odd litter although he wasn't that interested in the Show World for himself. I did believe that he knew what he was talking about!


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    County Durham


    Hi Lucy,
    Mum was fed on raw tripe, meat and royal canin mini adult whilst pregnant. I have fed starter before to my pregnant bitches whilst in whelp but declined to do so with my last 2 litters. I have heard that some breeds are getting a higher incidence of C sections due to puppies growing quite big before birth and as my previous 3 litters ended in caesarians I thought I would try another diet.
    They commenced on Starter as soon as they whelped and had canovel calcium tablets daily after the birth.
    Lily never had a problem, Beth delivered 4 good sized pups naturally but went down with eclampsia when they reached 4.5 weeks old.
    I raise my pups in the sitting room, sleep on the sofa with them for 3 weeks! The other dogs are kept away.
    First and hopefully the last time I have a problem with eclampsia.
    And Jenny.... I would never have allowed anyone to take my picture that night, it was not a pretty sight!
    Karen x

  4. #14


    Hi Karen

    looking at what you fed the Mum during pregnancy, I'd suggest her diet was a bit low in natural calcium for a pregnant bitch. There is not a great deal in beef, a bit more in lamb, quite a lot more in tripe but not really enough. The addition of rice to tripe or beef, preferably white, long-grain, parboiled, unenriched which contains about 55 mg of Calcium per 100g when dry, adds quite a lot.

    I think it moderately unusual for the eclampsia to be so late after whelping; not that my experience is extensive.

    I can see you'd be worried having had three litters requiring caesarians: were they because of big puppies or other reasons? I've had a 14 lb bitch produce, in her first litter, a single puppy weighing 318 grams; about 11 1/4 ounces, with less fuss than she made at the mating!

    This same bitch, fed on Royal Canin, then had a litter of three to the same dog: they weighed 270, 272 and 278 grams at birth, then a litter of four with a different dog who weighed 242, 250, 258 and 284 (the last is is Bijou) and then because I was so (justifiably, as it turned out!) pleased with this litter she had a 4th with the same sire! Only time EVER that I've had a bitch have that many litters. This last litter weighed 180, 230, 280 and 290 (that last is Cedric). Despite being small she had an ability to produce decent sized litters with no apparent problems and has been a super Mum. She'll be 12 in January.

    On the other hand a friend has just lost two of a litter of three when the bitch went into uterine inertia. She helped deliver one very large pup which was dead; I don't know how much it weighed; then took her to the vet after nothing happened for an hour or so. She didn't have a caesar; she was anaesthetised and the vet delivered the pups manually, if I understood correctly (!). My friend is French, she was very upset and speaking fast so it's possible I may have misunderstood some of what she said, but am quite clear there was no surgery. This is a Cavalier.

    Last edited by Janelise; 12-02-2012 at 04:59 PM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Bowers Gifford, Essex, UK.


    Quote Originally Posted by Janelise View Post
    I think it moderately unusual for the eclampsia to be so late after whelping
    Hi Jane, Karen and all,
    I was out all day yesterday at a meeting, so I missed this thread... I'm relieved to read your little one came through this frightening time unscathed Karen... we have all heard of others who have not been so lucky.

    When talking about timing, I would say that between 4 to 5 weeks is the stage Mum should be watched very carefully for Eclampsia. A healthy litter of this age will 'drain' mums milk bar (and calcium levels ) within seconds, which is why I start weaning in earnest at 3 weeks. New borns take so little from mum, but at 4 to 5 weeks it's a very different story.
    I learnt a long time ago never to give Calcium supplements prior to whelping, and post whelping we tend to go for additional Cottage Cheese…. Goats Milk… Yoghurt etc… even Ice Cream… but any litter with more than 5 babies to raise we might give ‘Tums’ for a balanced dose of Calcium that won’t leave mum vulnerable by upsetting natures supply by making her natural calcium production lazy.
    All a Calcium supplement will achieve is a hit & miss covering for mum… a spoonful of Cal-D will give the body a false impression, and reduce the natural production of Calcium…. When the Cal-D is absorbed the natural supply has ceased, leaving the mother depleted of much needed calcium, which of course causes life-threatening eclampsia.

    Our system here for raising a litter seems to be a little different, although Jenny and I appear to do things in a very similar way.
    We have a small dedicated nursery where we all stay for the first 3 weeks.... that's Mum, babies, and a human... ( me in the daytime, while Colin usually does the night shift ) .... it's very easy to keep at an ambient temperature 24 x 7 and mum can concentrate on her family without having distractions or having to 'guard' her little ones in any way.
    The litter is wormed, and have their first taste of solids by 3 weeks of age .... then at 21 days the whole shebang is moved into the living room where socialisation, house training, (using a litter tray with shredded paper... and yes, they do learn very quickly to use it) and ‘normal life’ is introduced. The puppies then progress to spending time in the kitchen, and are taught to use the dog-flap that leads onto a secure patio. This is usually achieved by 6 weeks of age, although the puppy run in the living room is still the night time sleeping area for the litter.
    I've tried to up-load pictures of our nursery set-up, but by the time I've reduced the file enough to be accepted on this forum, the quality of the photo is so poor it's not worth looking at

    Kind regards,

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Chicago suburb, Illinois, USA


    Love your detailed replies, Veronica. I often get a new way of looking at things from your posts.

    I've always read that 3 weeks is the time to start looking for signs of eclampsia and that is when my own bitch developed it. Also, my repro vets have always said that supplemental calcium will not affect whether or not a bitch gets eclampsia nor will it help if she does, that they need IV calcium asap. Even so, I always supplement with lots of cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. after whelping. We do things very similarly - my babies are never alone for the first 3 weeks. I have a small room that triples as my office/guest room/whelping room that is easy to keep warm. That's so important in the first 3 weeks. Internal temp of the pups must be at least 95. I have a wonderful laser thingy that I just point at anything and it tells me the temp!

    Susan Shidler
    AKC Breeder of Merit
    SevenWoods Cavaliers
    Mettawa, IL USA

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