Vets urge pet owners to be aware of dangerous, deadly artificial sweetener

Vets urge pet owners to be aware of dangerous, deadly artificial sweetener
Posted at 11:45 AM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-07 09:01:31-04

Veterinarians are warning pet owners about the dangers of an artificial sweetener found in human foods, following the death of two Yorkie puppies.

Dr. Marc Nay with Animal Medical Center in Midlothian said a woman brought in her puppies over the weekend showing symptoms of vomiting and seizures.

Chelsey Miller made the difficult decision Saturday to euthanize both puppies, because of what she said was severe liver failure.

"Because of their small size and young age they most likely would not recover," she said. "It was suggested we consider humane euthanasia."

Miller said the symptoms started with them vomiting Friday afternoon.

"By that evening they were having seizures and I immediately took them to the vet, where they were placed on fluids and found to be extremely hypoglycemic,” she added.

Saturday morning Miller found out her puppies' health was steadily declining, and by that evening were in full blown liver failure.

Nay believed the symptoms the puppies had were due to xylitol toxicity - a widely use artificial sweetener that can be found in chewing gum, mints, and candies.

"I believe they may have come in contact with it while outside in the yard," Miller said. "Before this ordeal I had never heard of xylitol."

"Dogs are seven times more sensitive to xylitol than humans," Nay said. "It’s among the most common toxicities we see these days."

While Miller knew about the dangers of chocolate and grapes when it comes to dogs, she wants to spread awareness about this artificial sweetener.

"I think this information would be something to share and prevent this from happening to other pets," she said.

According to PetMD, xylitol can also be found in mouthwash, toothpaste, baked goods, lotions, gels, deodorants and some medications.

Nay said you can also find xylitol in some brands of peanut butter, and urges pet owners to check the label before giving it to their dogs.

If your dog is poisoned because of xylitol toxicity, Nay said they will not necessarily die, however treatment is needed immediately.

NBC12's Karina Bolster is following this developing story and will have more information online and on 12News at 5 p.m. 

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