Friday, September 27, 2013

Dangers of Gum: Ice Breaker Ice Cube Gum for Pets

Here at the Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas we would like to inform owners to beware of leaving containers of Ice Breaker Ice Cube gum in reach of or in the general vicinity of your pets.  We have seen numerous toxicity cases involving this type of gum.  The pets probably view the container as some sort of toy, proceed to play with and open the container, and then consume part or all of the contents.  
Unfortunately, the gum does not work to freshen your dog’s breath, but the xylitol sugar substitute  is extremely toxic to your dog.  Ingestion of this sugar-free product can rapidly cause a severe drop in your pet’s blood sugar.  When the blood sugar levels plummet, it can result in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and seizures.  This effect is sometime prolonged for several days, requiring extended hospitalization.  Each piece of the gum contains approximately 1 gram of xylitol, and only one or two pieces can be toxic or even fatal to your dog.  Xylitol toxicity can also affect the liver, causing bleeding tendencies and other life-threatening complications.    
If you suspect that your pet has consumed any sugarless  gum, please have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.  If your pet can be seen quickly (within 30 minutes of ingestion) then it may be possible to make your pet vomit the gum but xylitol can be absorbed within minutes.  Beyond this time frame, your pet may require an IV drip to support their blood sugar for a minimum of 24 hours and monitoring of liver values, blood clotting times, and potassium and phosphorus levels for a period of 2 to 5 days.  

So please be aware that this particular type of gum product, no matter the flavor, seems to be as appealing to your pet dog as to you but it is definitely not something that you want them to consume.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back-to-School Toxicity Dangers For Pets

Every August, the Animal Poison Control Center sees an increase in backpack-related toxicities. One of the most common complaints we hear is than an owner's dog or cat got into a child's backpack and ingested something problematic, and the yearly top toxins list always includes human medications.

Here are some tips on what to watch out for in the back-to-school season.

These often become receptacles for anything and everything including:

  • Gum (contains xylitol) 
  • ADHD medications 
  • Albuterol inhalers
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Illicit drugs and synthetic marijuana

Along with backpacks, lunch boxes attract items that are unhealthy for pets: 
  • Grapes
  • Raisins 
  • Onions
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Old/Moldy food 
Human medications are the most common exposure in our patients, and you will likely run across a medication in your practice that you've never encountered before. 

Atomoxetine is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor used to treat ADHD in humans. This article can tell you more about this medication, signs of ingestion in pets, and how to best treat them.