Xylitol May Be Causing Surge in Accidental Poisonings

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11.3.15 - pisonings1

Xylitol is an artificial sugar substitute that can be found in many types of chewing gum and other “gummy” items (vitamins, candy, etc.) intended for consumption by humans.  Unfortunately, it seems to be what is responsible for many accidental poisonings in dogs recently.

Xylitol is very, very dangerous to dogs.  It’s thought to be 100 times as harmful to dogs as milk chocolate according to experts.  This is information that would have been helpful to know for Tonia Cox.

Cox came home from work one day to find that the family dog Murphy Jo, had knocked her son’s Ice Breakers brand gum off of the counter, spilling the individual pieces across the floor.  The dog then ingested about 20 pieces of the gum, and almost died of liver failure.

“They told me to bring my kids in to say goodbye to her,” said Cox.  “We all held her and cried.”

Luckily, Murphy Jo pulled through.  Three blood-plasma transfusions were needed to save her life, but she did survive.  Now, Cox is taking the time to inform people about a poison that many may have in their home right now.  Maybe, by educating people on the dangers, there will be less incidents involving dogs and xylitol poisonings.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase” in xylitol calls, said Dr. Ahna Brutlag.  Dr. Brutlag is the senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.  In 2015 alone, they have fielded some 2,800 calls about the stuff potentially poisoning dogs.

“There are still a lot of dog owners who have never heard of xylitol, nor do they understand that something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets,” said Dr. Brutlag.