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Xylitol Toxicity

Posted by lhvs on November 11, 2013


Products that may contain Xylitol
  •   Baking powder
  •   Breath Mints
  •   Candies
  •   Chewing gum
  •   Chocolate
  •   Gummy bears
  •   Jams/Jellies
  •   Moisturizing nasal washes
  •   Mouthwash
  •   Multi-vitamins
  •   Sweeteners
  •   Sugar-free baked goods
  •   Sugar-free candies
  •   Throat lozenges
  •   Throat sprays
  •    Toothpaste



Xylitol Toxicity

   Gum! Everyone has a pack hidden here or there, in your purse, backpack, dresser, or table. I mean really who doesn't love gum?! While gum is fine for humans, it can be toxic to your pets. Many types of gum, mints, and chewable vitamins contain an alternative artificial sweetener called xylitol. Sugar-free chewing gum is the most common form of xylitol toxicity in dogs. Xylitol is perfectly safe for humans because our metabolisms are different than our pets. Xylitol primarily affects the release of insulin throughout the body. Insulin creates an increase in the amount of glucose (blood sugar) uptake into the liver, muscle, and fat cells. This results in decreasing blood glucose levels. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of xylitol ingestion. Even small amounts may casue hypoglycemia, liver failure or even death, this may be seen with levels as low as 0.1 gram xylitol per kilogram of body weight. Vomiting may occur immediately after ingestion. The patients' blood sugar drops within 30 to 60 minutes resulting in lethargy and weakness. These signs may quickly develop into ataxia (lack of muscle coordination). Xylitol is estimated to be 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate is!

If you suspect that your pet has ingested xylitol consult your veterinarian immediately! It is very important to begin to induce vomiting to remove as much xylitol from your pets stomach as possible. Close monitoring of blood glucose levels and intravenous fluid therapy may be neccessary depending on the severity. Large amounts of xylitol ingestion that is not caught immediately may result in liver failure and/or death. All of this can occur in less than 36 hours. Xylitol toxicity can create a dangerous downward spiral  in your pet's body very quickly and it has a very deadly potential. If you suspect that your pet has ingested even a small amount of this sweetener you should seek immediate veterinary care!


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