– 1 package Trident Tropical Twist gum $1.29
– Call to ASPCA Poison Control Hotline $65
– 1 night hospitalization at the Peninsula Emergency Veterinary Clinic $260
– Follow up exam and bloodwork at Grafton Animal Hospital $193
– Having a pet without long term liver damage PRICELESS!
My sister came to visit me last Thursday and arrived just about 30 minutes before I got home from work. She brought her dog, Milo, a 17 pound Pug, with her. Their last stop before my house was at a Wawa where her 8-year old son only wanted a pack of gum, and chose the Trident Tropical Twist. He later said that he had only chewed 2 pieces.
Within 15 minutes of me being home, we found the gum wrapper in the attached photo. We knew it was Milo who had eaten the gum (as he had the orange smell on his breath) and that it had been within the last 15 minutes. I started by calling Dr. Raiff at Grafton Animal Hospital, who gave me instructions on how to induce vomiting. This is best done by a veterinary professional, but since the clinic was soon closing and I was about 1 hour away from the emergency clinic, I did this at home.
Dr. Raiff advised me to call the ASPCA Poison Control hotline at 1-888-426-4435. There is normally a $65 consultation fee charged for this service. But, because Milo had gotten a Home Again Microchip within the last year, that fee was waived. I was able to speak with a board certified toxicologist who, based on how much he ate and how much he weighed, was able to advise me what to do for Milo. We were headed to the emergency clinic.
Dr. Mitchell at the Peninsula Emergency Veterinary Clinic monitored Milo overnight. He took a blood glucose reading every couple of hours and did some bloodwork to make sure the Xylitol had not done any damage to Milo’s liver. He recommended more bloodwork in 48 hours to check the liver again.
Milo arrived at Grafton Animal Hospital Saturday for the repeat bloodwork. The results are in and no elevated liver values. Milo is going to be okay. This is likely because of how quickly we reacted, because I was able to get the gum out of his system quickly, and get immediate advice from a veterinary professional. I’m not sure we would have had great results if this had happened while we were away from home for a long period of time.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found naturally in many fruits and plants, but is mostly harvested from corncobs and hardwoods. It looks and tastes like sugar but much better for HUMANS than sugar, so lots of companies are using it in place of sugar. My dentist told me about it years ago because it is also great for preventing cavities, and therefore found in a lot of toothpastes.
But Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Humans metabolize Xylitol very slowly, where dogs metabolize it within 30 minutes. One side effect is hypoglycemia ( low blood sugar) that can lead to seizures and other problems if not quickly addressed. The other major concern is liver failure. For more information about the effects of Xylitol on dogs, please refer to this article from the ASPCA:
Overall, I’m glad Milo is going to okay. In the future, I think my sister will either not allow her child to have gum, or look for gum that does not contain Xylitol. This sweetener is in so many foods that we have in our pantries right now. Please keep these foods away from your pets and keep them safe! If you have any questions about Xylitol and how it affects your pet, please give us a call at (757) 898-8433.