Monday, February 6, 2012

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Life with dogs

Xylitol is a sugar substitute in many products, most notable some sugar-free gums and flavored medications. Xylitol is safe for people (and oddly, cats), but is very toxic to dogs (and probably ferrets).

If your dog has or may have ingested xylitol, call your veterinary team and have your pet examined right away. Xylitol, even in small amounts, causes an over-production of insulin, which causes a horrendous sugar crash, or, more accurately, hypoglycemia.

hyp/o – low

glyc/o – sugar

-emia – blood

Signs of Hypoglycemia in Dogs

lethargy (abnormal tiredness)
shaking
ataxia (loss of balance)
inability to stand
seizures


Do not wait for signs to develop! Insulin release and resulting hypoglycemia begin almost immediately. Left unchecked, very low blood sugar or liver failure secondary to xylitol toxicity can be fatal. With treatment, the prognosis is usually good. The sooner a xylitol toxicity is treated, the better the prognosis.

Conclusion

You are home from the veterinary hospital with a recovering pet, considerably poorer, a bit shaken by the close call and anxious for the recheck appointment, still weeks away, in which you will hopefully learn that there was no long term liver damage. You rid your home of all xylitol-containing products and warn friends and family of the dangers of xylitol toxicity in dogs.

Alternate Ending

You finish an article on xylitol toxicity and think, “Hmm, that was interesting…I guess.” You rid your home of all xylitol-containing products and warn friends and family of the dangers of xylitol toxicity in dogs.

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