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Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute. One of the most common products that contain xylitol is sugar-free gum. It can also be found in sugar-free candies and many dental products, such as mouthwashes and toothpastes.

After ingestion by a dog or less commonly by a ferret (NOTE: Xylitol does not affect cats) it causes the release of insulin, which can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar also known as hypoglycemia.

This in turn may cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Loss of balance or ataxia
  • Depression, seizures or coma
  • Liver failure

As little Xylitol as 0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight can result in hypoglycemia. A typical stick of gum contains 0.3 to 0.4 grams of xylitol, which means that a 5kg dog could be poisoned by as little as a stick and a half of gum.

Liver damage requires 1 gram per kilogram of body weight, significantly more than the dose to cause hypoglycemia but still not a very large amount. For instance, the same 5kg dog could get potentially fatal liver disease by eating a package of gum sweetened with Xylitol

If your dog consumes a product containing Xylitol, you must immediately either contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

When a patient is seen relatively soon after ingestion, vomiting is induced. Afterward, an intravenous drip is maintained for a minimum of 24 hours. Liver enzymes, electrolytes, phosphorous and blood clotting tests are monitored for 2 to 3 days. If the patient responds well to treatment and there are no hematological abnormalities 3 days following ingestion, then there should be no further concerns and the patient can be discharged.

Unfortunately, if immediate treatment is not instituted after xylitol ingestion, the outcome can be disastrous.

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North Town Veterinary Hospital is committed to doing everything possible to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

As part of this commitment, effective immediately, North Town Veterinary Hospital will be instituting the following precautionary protocol to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For the safety of yourself, our staff, and the community we are limiting the amount of clients permitted inside of our building. We have initiated a semi- open door policy to allow one person inside the hospital while your pet is here for a scheduled exam. One person is also permitted inside the hospital for surgical drop offs. Our emergency services remain closed door to clients as our building does not allow for proper social distancing while waiting for the veterinarian. Please call 905-451-2000 when you arrive for your appointment, surgical drop off or emergency service to gain further direction from one of our team members. You can also place an order for pet food through our Online Store by visiting our website.

EMERGENCY CASES

- If possible, please call us at 905-451-2000 to let us know you are on the way so that we can be prepared to meet you upon your arrival at the hospital.

- When you arrive, please stay in your vehicle in our parking lot and call 905-451-2000, and we'll come to you.

- If you do not have a phone or your pet's emergency is immediately life-threatening, please come to the front door and ring the bell.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.