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Weakness in animals can be caused by many different problems, some of which are simple to identify and treat, others that are more complicated. It may be the weakness is caused by pain or trauma, so look at what has happened up to this point, to see if you can identify a cause.

Different infections affect animals, similar to how you would feel weak if you have an infection. It could be an infected injury site, or infections like kennel cough, parvovirus, Distemper or heartworm to name a few.

Weakness in puppies and kittens is sometimes caused by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, especially in very small breed puppies like Yorkshire Terriers that are not eating frequently.

Other pets that might be at risk for low blood sugar are those with diabetes that are being treated with insulin. If you suspect your pet’s weakness could be related to low blood sugar, offer her some food or rub some corn syrup or maple syrup on their gums.

They should then be evaluated by your vet, but make sure you note if giving sugar improved things as this would suggest low blood sugar was the underlying problem. Low blood sugar is a potentially life-threatening emergency and even if your pet improves after a meal, they should be evaluated.

Weakness may also be caused by other electrolyte disturbances, such as problems with calcium or potassium, particularly in female dogs and cats that are due to give birth or have recently given birth.

Underlying muscular or neurologic disorders may also lead to weakness, these often may have a slow onset that becomes progressively more pronounced, but could also appear suddenly and warrants a trip to your vets.

One of the more concerning causes of weakness is a cardiovascular disorder. Underlying heart disease or problem with blood circulation may be seen as weakness or exercise intolerance. If you notice your pet is weak, take their heart rate, is it faster or slower than usual? This could be a sign of an underlying cardiovascular disorder.

If animals gums become pale pink to white during a weakness event, which may become even worse with activity, this is more evidence of an underlying cardiovascular problem.

Medications can be the cause of weakness or collapse and this will vary on the drug itself, the type of animal, their size, their allergies and what other drugs they are on that could cause a reaction. Medications are not just oral medications but it could also be things like flea treatments that are applied to the skin.

Human medications can also be a problem and the general advice is never to give human medications to pets unless under the advice of a vet. Accidental consumption of human medications can be reduced by taking care of your medications and keeping them well away from pets and discarding of them safely. If you think your pet has consumed human medications, talk to your vet or the vet poison line.

Other things that cause weakness or collapse are poisonous foods or plants, tumours, Anemia, chronic or acute diarrhoea to name a few.

If your pet has weakness or collapse, try to keep your pet calm and limit his activity until you can have them evaluated.