Just a short note today, mainly to acquaint you all with a really bad situation if you are an animal lover – and who, amongst us, is not!
The other day Jen, our marketing and office manager, and the loving owner of a cute little miniature teddy terrier called Ozwald, called me frantically in the middle of the night, wanting to know if I had the home number of our veterinarian.
What had happened was that Jen had come home from dinner in the Cook Shack at about 10 in the evening, and noticed that Oz had gobbled up some sugarless chewing gum that she had left on the table. The little monkey had somehow shinned up the chair leg onto the table and just helped himself.
Jen became worried about the idea of all that indigestible gum in the dog’s little tummy, so she logged onto the web and looked up the ingredients in the gum. One of these is called Xylitol. To her horror she read that Xylitol is highly fatal to dogs. She called the clinic and of course, got the recording telling her to call the emergency clinic in Tucson. She did, and the veterinarian there asked her how soon she could get there with Oz. Jen said “An hour and a half” and the woman answered, “That’s too late, he’ll be dead by then.”
You can imagine the panic. She called me, and luckily our local veterinarian is a personal friend of mine, and I had her home number. I gave it to Jen. Jen got Mary out of bed and, once she told her what happened, things moved very fast. Mary told her to get down to the Sunsites clinic immediately, and met her there. She told her that the ingredient Xylitol causes immediate and fatal hypoglycemia in dogs – their sugar levels drop drastically and suddenly, much as in a diabetic coma – and that it affects their liver and kidneys. She induced vomiting and then gave Oz whatever other treatment was needed and sent him home hooked up to a huge bottle of fluids, with instructions that he had to be fed sugar and canned chicken every two hours.
Jen sat up all night holding the little guy, as he didn’t like the needle in his front paw and did his best to pull it out. Next day she had to take him back for another blood test, and yesterday, which was day three, for another blood test – and, glory be, her quick action saved his life. He is doing much better, and Mary thinks he will not have any bad after-effects.
But it made us angry that there is a product that is sold, without any warning on the label, to dog owners innocent of the potential death threat to their dogs. I know that if I had come home and found that my Tuffy had eaten some chewing gum, I would have likely said “You bad dog”, and then found her dead in the morning, and never known the cause.
We are letting everyone know about this dreadful threat to dogs. I think that most people know about chocolate being fatal to some dogs, the ill effect of raw chicken bones, and lots of other foods that are not good for them, but this dreadful thing is on a level with rat poison and antifreeze as being a quick, merciless killer – and all under the guise of something that’s good for people to eat??
Tell everyone – check the food you eat and if it has a sweetener called Xylitol (or Xylitol family) in it, keep it well out of reach of dogs – and above all, do not let your dogs eat anything with any kind of artificial sweetener – in fact, do not feed your dog any people food at all.
Pass it on!!