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Coma in Dogs

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Comas can be caused by a variety of problems in dogs, from extreme temperatures to adverse reactions to prescription pet medication. A coma means your dog is unresponsive but breathing on his own with adequate pulses. A coma is a medical emergency. It is commonly seen in diabetic dogs in which the blood sugar has not been regulated.

What to Watch For

If your dog looks like he’s sleeping but does not respond to pain or stimulus, he may be comatose. First try to gently rouse him with touch and sound. If he does not respond, push more forcefully or increase the sound to awaken your sleeping dog.

Primary Cause

Diabetes is the most common cause of comas in dogs, because the glucose (dog blood sugar level) has either been too low or high for some time. Other causes include extreme temperatures, poisons, ticks, bleeding tumors, torsion of the stomach, drugs, shock and trauma.

The likelihood of each of these possible causes varies with your dog’s age, breed and overall health status.

Immediate Care

  1. Make sure the dog is not suffocating by checking his airway for blocked objects.
  2. Check the dog’s pulse and breathing.
  3. If his breathing or heart has stopped, perform artificial respiration and/or CPR. *Do not put your mouth on your pet’s face if he may have ingested a poison.*
  4. Call your veterinarian or an emergency vet hospital immediately.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will perform the necessary tests to determine the underlying cause of the coma, including the presence of health conditions such as diabetes. She will ask you a series of questions and note any unusual changes your pet may have undergone at home.

This is helpful in both diagnosing and treating the dog. Bring any wrappers, debris or other material that your dog may have been chewing on or ingesting. These will help your veterinarian determine the most appropriate treatment.