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Calcium ~

Birthing and Nursing
In mammals, giving birth and milking taxes the calcium stores of the body. Calcium allows the uterine muscle to slide past and shorten, resulting in effective uterine contraction. Low blood calcium leads to ineffective contractions and nervousness, often resulting in puppy loss. Mom will pull calcium out of the bone to augment her need.

Late Pregnancy
In late pregnancy, the bitch demand for calcium begins to increase with the fetal demand and mammary gland development. The parathyroid gland requests calcium from the bone to supplement calcium levels as is needed. This demand for calcium spikes at whelping and lactation and continues to increase, peaking when the puppies are two weeks of age.

Before Whelping
If you supplement calcium before whelping, you shut down the bitch’s ability to fine tune the minute-by-minute demand needed for whelping and milk production. By staying away from calcium supplements pre-whelping, you can let her regulate and gear up for the needs of whelping and milking. This helps prevent calcium issues in the bitch, such as eclampsia or milk fever. Once she starts whelping, supplementation is okay – in fact, desirable. Fast absorbing calcium like Oral Cal Plus is very helpful. Use several times during the birthing process to keep calcium levels up, and the bitch will fine tune from the bone. She won’t be eating at this time, so a small amount of gel orally is the only choice. She will accept it readily.

Previous Eclampsia
The bitch that has had calcium issues in the past or is at a high risk for repeat eclampsia needs to be managed closely. Use Oral Cal Plus and an injectable Calcium Gluconate when whelping starts and 6 hours later. If we are seeing signs of ineffective labor, nervousness or muscle twitching, quickly give Oral Cal Plus orally and inject Calcium Gluconate immediately. We do not want to give these bitches the chance to become repeat Eclampsia offenders!

Post Whelping Calcium Needs
Post whelping, all high risk moms and heavy milkers should get calcium supplements until weaning. I use the same bone supplements used for fast growing puppies. Doc Roy’s Healthy Bones has two parts calcium to one part phosphorus, which is needed for effective absorption. Giving only calcium will make the problem worse – you must balance 2:1 calcium with phosphorus. This formula also includes Vitamin D to help with absorption and Vitamins A & C to help get the calcium out of the bone. All of these nutrients are good for the bitch, and along with the puppy food the nursing mom is on, it will help ease the problems and bone loss.

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