Jun 9, 2009 by Dailypuppy Dallas
© 2009 Bailey Thompson
Dog owners have something new to worry about, and it’s not chocolate.
It’s called Xylitol, a product used in replacement of sugar, so that companies can label products sugarless. Although Xylitol looks and tastes like regular sugar, it’s effects in dogs can be fatal.
Angel is a 6-pound Ontario dog. On November 24th, 2008, this Shi-tzu, poodle, Bichon mix ate 3 pieces of sugarless gum containing Xylitol.
Her owners who’d previously heard of the poison rushed her to the Big Bay Animal Hospital where she was diagnosed with low blood sugar and glucose levels. She was also at risk for liver damage, due to the large volume of Xylitol she’d consumed.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Kup, a vet at the Big Bay Animal Hospital, Angel was not yet at a severity where he was unsure whether he could save her. However, due to her small size, it very easily could have become fatal.
She was hooked up to intravenous containing dextrose, also known as glucose, and stomach protectants to help battle her continually decreasing levels.
For the next 2 days, the Big Bay Animal Hospital supplied constant monitoring to Angel during the day, while Angel stayed at the overnight animal hospital at night.
After 3 days, tests confirmed that Angel’s blood sugar and glucose levels had risen to a safe level, and she was released. Days later, the results came back that Angel was free of liver damage.
Not all dogs come out as easily as Angel did. Speedy discovery and vet care can be what determines a dog’s fate.
Dr. Kup says some signs of Xylitol poisoning pet owners can look for include weakness, seizures, and coma. If it’s been 5-15 minutes following consumption, his recommendation is to induce vomiting before rushing the dog to the vet.
The amount of products containing Xylitol is rising, which is why it’s so important for pet owners to read the labels every time. Some products that are known to carry Xylitol are some sugarless gum, sugarless candies, toothpaste and vitamins.
Products are regularly having Xylitol added to their ingredient due to the positive effects in humans, and it’s lower price. Unfortunately, also raising the occurrences of Xylitol poisoning. Months following Angel’s consumption, a dog in Western Canada, weighing 60 pounds experienced severe toxicity and was in intensive care for 5 days.
Dr. Kup’s advice to dog owners is to keep bags and purses closed and off floors as pets often get in and play with personal toxic items; at times, those may contain Xylitol.
It may be unheard of in Canada, but in the United States it’s becoming an epidemic. Dr. Kup, who’d been unaware prior to Angel’s consumption, says that all vets were intrigued by the development.
Dogs don’t know what can harm them, and they don’t know what not to eat. Humans do. It’s up to us to keep our dogs safe. Whether you’re a dog owner or not, you need to spread the word of this often unknown poison, Xylitol and save a dogs life.
Angel struggled, but she survived to spread the word. She can’t do it alone. We need to do it together.