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Xylitol toxicity

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Did you know that sugar free gum can be toxic to your pets? Xylitol, the sweetener found in most sugar free chewing gum, has been found to cause a life threatening drop in blood sugar. Even more concerning, at higher doses the sweetener has been shown to cause liver failure and death.

Symptoms can develop with ingestion of as little as one piece of sugar free gum. In fact, ingestion of as few as 5 pieces of gum would be a lethal dose in a 10lb dog.

What should you do if you find that your dog has ingested xylitol? Immediately bring him into your veterinarian and let them know whichitems contained xylitol. Remember how much you pet consumed (always estimate on the high side because it is always better to be overly cautious when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your faithful friend). If treated early, the toxic effects may be avoided by decontamination. Your veterinarian will also want to treat your dog with dextrose (a type of sugar) so that they do not go into hypoglycemic shock. In addition, they will treat your pet for liver disease if enough xylitol is ingested. This is most definitely a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - be sure to keep your sugar free treats out of reach of your pets!

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Dr. Potter is the medical director of Allied Veterinary Emergency Hospital and is the only board certified emergency veterinarian in Tallahassee.

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Guest Friday, 26 May 2017