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Thread: Artificial sweetner warning

  1. #1
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    Default Artificial sweetner warning

    Cross posted with permission. A very sobering story and will make you re-evaluate the safety practices in your home...and on walks. Shelby is notorious for trying to eat gum off the sidewalk

    I know that many of you already are well aware of the risks of xylitol
    (an artificial sweetener used in diabetic foods, mints, chewing gum,
    sugar free pudding, jello, etc.) when it comes to our dogs, but
    thought this could serve as a reminder... I almost lost 2 of my girls
    last night...

    I had a friend over yesterday evening, and (without thinking) she put
    her purse on the ground, and we ended up chatting in another room for
    an hour or two. When we returned to the room in which she placed her
    purse, I noticed, to my absolute horror, a *shredded* Orbitz gum box
    torn to oblivion all over the floor.

    I am well aware of the risks of xylitol ingestion with dogs (as little
    as 2 pieces of gum can cause death in a 20 lb dog). I immediately
    grabbed my dogs and smelled their breath - the only one with the minty
    fresh breath... Izzy, my 10 lb female tri puppy. In a panic, I
    accosted my friend as to EXACTLY how much gum she had left in the
    package - she thought 3 or 4 pieces. Oh my god.

    I immediately induced vomiting (with hydrogen peroxide) and Izzy
    vomited violently 4 times - very minty smelling vomit, with small
    chunks of the gum. I then rushed both her and Darby (my 3 yo Bl girl -
    the only other one with access at the time - she didn't have minty
    breath, but I wasn't about to take any chances) to UC Davis for blood
    glucose monitoring and treatment.

    By the way, for those who don't know, xylitol causes mass insulin
    release in dogs, leading to severe, acute hypoglycemia. Dogs can show
    symptoms in as little as 20 minutes, or as late as 12 hours: ataxia
    (staggering gait), depression, lethargy, confusion, seizures & death.
    Even if they survive the hypoglycemia, many dogs experience liver
    failure and death 3-4 days later. There is no antidote or "cure." Your
    only option is to try and stay ahead of it by giving mass amounts of
    glucose to combat the effects of the xylitol until it finally
    metabolizes out of their system in 12-24 hours. Also, to check liver
    enzymes a few days later to see if your dog is experiencing fatal
    liver failure - no real cure or treatment, just supportive care and
    prayers.

    BOTH Darby's and Izzy's blood glucose levels were shockingly low - in
    the mid-50s (so, yes... clearly they both got some gum). We
    administered an IV bolus of fluids/dextrose, and because of my
    veterinary background, they allowed me to take them home... buying a
    glucometer at a drug store en route (this is around 3am at this
    point). By the way, they said that if I hadn't induced vomiting with
    Izzy when I did... immediately after ingestion, she probably would be
    dead right now.

    So, for the next 24 hours, I am giving "supportive care:" 10mls of
    Karo syrup orally mixed with a little food to each dog every HOUR, and
    re-checking blood glucose and giving SQ fluids every 4 hours.

    So, it is now 15 hours later, and after 15 "doses" of treatment, they
    really haven't improved, but are hanging in there. They both have BG
    levels that vary between 57 & 70 (normal is 90-130). Fortunately, they
    are not showing any clinical signs of hypoglycemia (staggering,
    confusion, seizures, etc). Yes, the glucose hasn't improved, BUT at
    least the numbers aren't dropping, and they are acting "fairly" normal
    (albeit a bit lethargic & depressed). In theory, the xylitol should
    completely metabolize out of their systems in 24 hours. So, as long as
    I can keep ahead of it with the karo syrup, we should be OK with the
    hypoglycemia side of things.

    My biggest concern though, as was in the beginning, is hepatic
    insufficiency (liver failure). It's sobering to know that a large
    number of xylitol intoxications (even with successful immediate
    treatment) are fatal within 4 days due to liver failure... it just
    completely breaks my heart. I just hope that, between my catching
    this IMMEDIATELY, and inducing vomiting IMMEDIATELY, and having them
    treated asap, and the fact the the 3 dogs affected are young and
    healthy, that we will beat the odds. I will have liver values run
    tomorrow and Monday - that's the only way I'll know if they will be
    all right. This is scary because people frankly just don't know
    enough about xylitol toxicity (and the mechanisms of effect on the
    liver), as it is a fairly new problem since xylitol as an additive in
    the US is a fairly new thing.

    Xylitol tastes just like sugar, but with fewer calories, so there has
    been an EXPLOSION of products in the US with xylitol added in the last
    6-8 months. By the way, there has also been a parallel explosion of
    xylitol-related deaths in dogs during that same period. I've read that
    strawberries & raspberries are natural sources of xylitol - who'd have
    thought!?

    Now, please understand that I am not posting this as a "pity/feel
    sorry for me" post - I posted because if it can happen to me, it can
    happen to anyone. I was so surprised that so FEW people knew about
    xylitol, I felt that I HAD to post... if this educates even ONE person
    to the dangers, and saves ONE dog - I could just never forgive myself
    for NOT posting!

    If you want to cross-post this experience, please feel free! I have
    e-mailed it to my own personal list of dog people. The more people
    that know about the dangers of xylitol, the better.

    This whole experience completely breaks my heart. What a freak
    accident - I don't chew gum, and didn't even THINK about the purse on
    the floor - consider this "lesson learned!" No purses on the floor,
    EVER, in my house from now on (I mean, how many people keep gum &
    mints in their purses?!)! I'm still not sure my girls are going
    to be OK, and I will definitely keep the list updated... but PLEASE, I
    implore you, keep ANY xylitol-containing foods or gum FAR OUT OF REACH
    of your dogs (or preferably, just get rid of them!)!! Just 1
    piece/stick can be deadly....

    And, if you can spare them, any warm positive thoughts or prayers sent
    our way would be highly appreciated. Thank you, from the bottom of my
    heart.
    Warmly,
    Christine Moe
    Northwynd Cavaliers
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  2. #2
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    Thats really scary!!

    I didn't know anything about the dangers of artificial sweetner, I really hope her dogs are going to be ok I will say a little prayer for them

    I think it was amazing how quickly she acted!
    Proud to be owned by Ashton and Rio

  3. #3
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    Cathy--I just wanted to add a post-script to this. Xylitol is apparently not just in sugarless gum/candy. I looked at the ingredients on gum that I currently have--the first ingredient is sugar, but xylitol is also listed as well. So even more vigilance needed.

    Of course, we're all hoping for the best possible outcome for Christine's girls.
    Deb
    JazzRemyShiloh

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    How did she safely give hydrogen peroxide to her dog to induce vomiting?
    ....
    Dylan, Poppy & Kipling's
    *''' ' "*Mummy`` "*'
    ,'*" "*'

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Pauline* View Post
    How did she safely give hydrogen peroxide to her dog to induce vomiting?
    Hi Pauline--I think she used a 12ml syringe (gave 8-10mls) and just squirted it down her throat. It's just horrible what they're going through. She seems to really know what she's doing--so they're in good hands. Just hope there's a happy ending!
    Deb
    JazzRemyShiloh

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazz View Post
    Hi Pauline--I think she used a 12ml syringe (gave 8-10mls) and just squirted it down her throat.
    Doesn't that stuff burn? I hope they are going to be ok.
    ....
    Dylan, Poppy & Kipling's
    *''' ' "*Mummy`` "*'
    ,'*" "*'

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Pauline* View Post
    Doesn't that stuff burn?
    I read somewhere recently that a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide is used to induce vomiting in dogs - it is the weakest solution you can get and since it induces vomiting, the body won't have time to absorb it to cause any damage.

    the dogs get better soon.
    Sarah

    Mum of Rosie (tri)

  8. #8
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    One of the important things to remember is that Christine knew what she was doing. She has had training so she knew how much and how to give it. One other reminder is that you would never induce vomitting to bring up something solid because of the risk of perforation or serious damage as the item came back up again. This wasn't something that would cause a problem (as say a toy would) coming back up.

    Here's a good link that talks about when not to induce vomitting:

    http://www.thedachshundnetwork.com/indvomit.htm
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  9. #9
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    My sisters dog ate a boat load of raisins (accidentally left by a friend), and she basically just pried his mouth open and dumped the peroxide in (under vet's guidance as to how much). He threw up a ton of raisins on route to the vet, spent a couple days at the emergency vet and was fine (thank God). Peroxide probably saved his life though.

  10. #10
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    Oh my goodness!! Once again, I am so thankful for this board, as I had NO IDEA about the artificial sweetener toxicity in dogs. Thank you Cathy for posting that. In fact, we had a birthday party here today and one of the guests did put her purse on the floor. Two of the dogs here, including mine had their noses down inside looking for treats. I just picked it up and put it on the table. Yikes, that could have easily have happened to us today. Very frightening to say the least, but education is the greatest prevention.
    Marianne
    Mom to Dottie, and our precious rescue, Claire-Bear

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