Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a condition in which there is a drastic, sudden drop in the level of blood sugar in the puppy. It is most often in seen in toy breed puppies. It is most likely caused when the puppy spends more energy than it has, and does not have sufficient fat stores to quickly draw energy from.
It can also happen if the puppy goes too long without eating. Maltese puppies MUST have a good, quality food available at all time. This can not be stressed enough. Please be sure your Maltese puppy as access to food and water at all times. When you travel, be sure to offer food and water regularly and keep any eye on your Maltese puppy for signs of Sugar Shock.
Signs of an attack are a weakness, confusion, wobbly gait, frothing or drooling from the mouth - sometimes even a seizure and drain of blood from the head. A quick check of the gums will show them to be pale or grayish white in color rather than a healthy bright pink. The puppy can go into shock and, if not cared for properly and promptly, may even die or suffer brain damage.
If your puppy is sleeping and does not raise some kind of response when you call his name, such as lifting his ears, opening his eyes, etc., you need to check his gums and make sure he is not hypoglycemic.
Any significant stress, such as a routine trip to the vet's or groomer, can cause the blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels. Other causes can be extreme temperatures, infections, vaccinations, strenuous exercise, and inadequate nutrition.
Nutri-Cal, honey and Karo syrup can be rubbed on the gums of a failing puppy. For pups who have had recurrent or prolonged signs, monitoring the urine for ketones with a "dipstick" made for diabetics is helpful, since a return to "ketone negative status" signals a return to normalcy. If these measures don't correct the problem, a trip to the vet is recommended as intravenous fluids may be necessary and the vet will need to check the puppy for more serious problems.
Try not to allow your puppy to become over-stimulated.
The Maltese & Hypoglycemia AKA Sugar Shock
The best practice is prevention. Be sure your new puppy is eating regularly and limit play to 10-15 minutes with a rest period. This is vitally important to insure your puppy does not spend more energy than he has readily available.
Every attempt should be made to assure that you eliminate as much stress as possible for your new puppy. They should be kept out of drafts, extreme temperatures, etc. It’s a good idea to give the puppy a snack before taking him to the vet or groomer.
Keep a high-quality food available to your Maltese puppy at all times.