calcium while pregnant & lactating? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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calcium while pregnant & lactating?

We never used to give any supplements to our (breeding) bitches, but it has been quite some time since breeding.
I've read so many different opinions on feeding extra calcium to a pregnant &/or lactating bitch. Even my vets can't agree!! One said add calcium now & feed it until pups are a few weeks old. The other said no need to supplement.
I feed TOTW, rotating thru the different flavors. Have been on the Pacific/fish one for the last month. She(dog) is just about 6 weeks along & HUGE! Expecting 8-9 pups(per vet). She is in excellent health & still exersices regularly.
So lets hear your opinions


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 08:27 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

The vet I worked for only put extra calcium and other supplements if the bitch was underweight or in any way under nourished.

If she's getting good food, good exercize good vet care why supplement???
IMHO

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:27 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

I'd add more Vitamin C and Folic Acid (boiled eggs) before calcium.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

Well honestly I was pretty set on not supplementing at all, unless she started showing signs of a deficency(sp?). As the bitch is in good health & gets a quality, balanced food. It was only after the one vet said to supplement that I started second guessing myself.


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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:48 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

I think Vitamin C should be added during this time and Folic Acid. Human females supplement during this time period don't they?
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:49 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

give 2 Tums twice per day for extra calcium

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 09:06 AM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

We give a tablespoon of plain yogurt every day, starting a week or so before whelping and on through the active nursing period.

Low calcium levels can cause problems in whelping. They don't have to be low enough for the dog to have an actual calcium deficiency in the general sense, but can impact a smooth delivery. So we've always done the yogurt to make sure to prevent that. The probiotics in the yogurt also help reduce the amount of diarrhea the bitch has those first few days after whelping due to her "clean up" activities while birthing.


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

Chris(and others) what are your thoughts on folic acid & vit C? (re: the comment from doc) I haven't read to much about needing to give those, if the dog is on a quality food program.


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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:30 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

My recommendation of additional Vitamin C is based on work done by Dr. Wendell Belfield DVM and the role of Vitamin C on collagen sysnthesis particullarily as it pertains to HD. Studies have shown that by adding Vitamin C to a pregnant bitch increases the callagen production in pups which may result in non dysplasic hips. Not to mention the benefits Vitamin C plays in boosting the immune system.

I'm not sure why you didn't ask me but I would like to hear from Chris and others if they have any experience or thoughts using these supplements during pregnancy, lactation, and whelping.

As far as a quality food program goes - it depends on how that is defined. Most dog food has the minimum levels of vitamins and minerals. I would rather have the maximum amounts particularly under stressful conditions. I think the importance of proper nutrition and the role of vitamins and minerals have been overlooked for too long.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:36 PM
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Re: calcium while pregnant & lactating?

I see Chris(and others) so I think they asked "and others"????


I add yogurt, cottage cheese from time to time throughout, not just in pregnancy or lactation. I don't do it daily.

I found this years ago so I've never given "regular" supplements because I don't want to invite problems.

Eclampsia (convulsions not associated with other cerebral conditions such as epilepsy or cerebral hemorrhage) can occur in the dog as a result of lactation. The greater the quantity of milk produced, the more likely it is that eclampsia will occur. When calcium is lost in the milk faster than it is absorbed, or than it can be mobilized from the skeletal system, hypocalcemia results. Signs are muscle fasciculations, tetany, and death. The treatment is to slowly (10-15 min) administer a calcium solution intravenously. As you treat, the amplitude of heart sounds will increase, and the heart rate will decrease. If the heart rate increases, or becomes arrhythmic immediately stop calcium administration.

A bitch with a large litter two to four weeks into lactation is especially susceptible to eclampsia. Some would suggest giving extra Ca prior to the time it is needed. However, this does not help, because excess Ca intake decreases the efficiency of Ca absorption from the intestine, inhibits parathyroid hormone secretion, and stimulates thyrocalcitonin secretion. These changes decrease the ability of the dog to mobilize Ca from the bone, when additional Ca is needed; it takes 1 to 3 weeks to reverse the effects. Of course, this is not fast enough, and hypocalcemia and eclampsia occur. Giving Ca when it is needed, during the first week through the fourth or fifth week of lactation, may be helpful; 500 mg of calcium carbonate (about one Tums, the antacid you take for upset stomach) per 5 kg of body weight per day, but only for the bitch in which eclampsia has previously occurred. The best treatment is to get the puppies off the dam as quickly as possible, either onto solid food or a bitch's milk replacer.

I don't do any other supplements other than raw, veggies.

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