Artificial sweetner can be deadly to dogs
A common food product that is safe for humans can be potentially toxic for your dog.
Kelly Efonoff learned the hard way that Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can be harmful for your pet. Her dog, Kola, is normally full of energy, but two weeks ago became quite sick.
"She started acting lethargic and then the next day she started having tremors."
The most likely cause is that the dog ate three sticks of Trident sugarless gum containing Xylitol.
"She'd gotten into gum a few days before but I didn't think anything of it at the time," Efonoff said.
Dr. Oni Daudjee diagnosed Kola at his Surrey animal hospital.
"We did blood tests and her liver enzymes were very, very increased -- very elevated --and with the history that she got into this chewing gum we made a conclusion most likely it is because of that," he said.
Signs of Xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, a loss of coordination and can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
The B.C. Veterinary Medicine Association warns a couple of sticks can be enough to poison a 20 pound dog.
"I would say it is very toxic because it requires low doses to cause toxicity so I would say it's very, very toxic," Dr. Daudjee said.
Efonoff said she was completely shocked the gum was the likely cause of her dog's sickness.
"I had no idea," she said.
"I've had dogs for 10 years now and I've never heard of it before and most of my friends have dogs and nobody I've talked to has known."
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener in sugarless gum, particularly some flavours of Trident and Stride.
On the Trident website the company says the American Veterinary Medical Association has reported "Xylitol may be toxic for dogs.
We encourage people to seek the counsel of their veterinarians about how to keep their dogs safe."
Kola still faces more tests and her treatment will likely cost about $1,000. Dr. Daudjee is hopeful.
"With liver it's a good organ if we stop the damage and treat it well it has a potential to regenerate so I think she should have a normal life."
Xylitol has been used in sugar free gums candies even toothpaste for 30 years and is considered safe for humans.
For a complete link of foods, along with other common items such as over the counter medication that shouldn't be given to your pet, follow this link.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen