Over the weekend, a woman named Chelsey Miller brought her two Yorkie puppies after they had started vomiting and having seizures at her home. After a thorough examination, the veterinarians did what they could, but the puppies were suffering from liver failure. As such, Miller made the tough choice to have them euthanized. The Yorkie puppies, Josie and Jaxson, were three months old. Devastated at the loss, Miller is still unsure exactly what it was that they consumed to make them so severely ill, but the veterinarians determined that it looked like xylitol poisoning.
The key to this discovery was due to the puppies being hypoglycemic. This occurs because their bodies produce seven times the amount of insulin that their bodies actually need. In order to counteract all of the insulin, glucose production needs to be amplified. When that doesn’t occur, and without glucose entering the body, it likely won’t, then the body becomes hypoglycemic. When this condition occurs, dogs can lose their appetite and become lethargic. They can also lose their coordination, have muscle spasms or muscle trembling, undergo seizures, discoloration of the skin and gums, and they may even succumb to a coma.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that has been found to be particularly poisonous to dogs. The ingredient itself can be found in an assortment of foods for humans such as sugarless or low sugar gums, it’s an ingredient found in some peanut butter jars, as well as bars designed for diets or protein. In addition, it’s been found in certain syrups and jellies. It isn’t just found in food either. Xylitol can also be found in cleaning products like mouthwash and toothpaste. Lotions, deodorants, and gels are another example where a dog can receive a lethal of xylitol. For dogs who have a tendency of licking the lotion off of one’s skin, this is a habit that could potentially prove to be fatal.
As such, pet owners are being advised to keep these lotions away from their pets as well as any snacks that contain the poisonous ingredient. With pets playing such a deep and emotional role in a family’s life, this is sound advice to heed. If your pet seems to be showing signs of xylitol poisoning, you’re encouraged to bring them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. The quicker they receive treatment, the more likely they will recover and survive the poisoning.