Xylitol poisoning 木糖醇中毒
Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute that is present in a variety of human food products, e.g. toothpastes, chewing gums, candies, some baked goods and peanut butter. The 2 deadly effects of xylitol are hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and acute liver failure in dogs. Xylitol is dangerous and can be fatal to dogs at even very low doses. Signs may occur within 30 minutes to 1 hour after xylitol exposure, and include lethargy, weakness, anorexia, ataxia, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizure, collapse and coma.
Ingestion of more than 0.075g/kg body weight of xylitol can cause hypoglycaemia in dogs. Dogs ingesting more than 0.5g/kg of xylitol can develop sudden liver failure, which is life-threatening. For example, ingestion of 1-4 pieces of mint flavour candy/gum is enough to cause toxicity in a small to medium-sized dog, but it also depends on the xylitol content of the product, size of the dog, and how much the dog ate.
What to do next?
If you are sure your dog had ingested xylitol or other toxic products, please bring your dog to your family veterinarian or to a 24-hour Emergency Hospital like VSH Hong Kong as soon as possible. It is always best to induce vomiting under supervision of a veterinarian, and effective, safe emetic medications are available through veterinary clinics.
Induce vomiting at home (Please contact your veterinarian before you do this at home!)
If you are more than 2 hours away from your nearest vet and you are certain your dog had eaten xylitol, you can try to induce vomiting with 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. More concentrated hydrogen peroxide should be diluted before use, as it can cause ulceration in the GI tract.
The dose is approximately 2.2ml per kg of body weight, e.g. a 5kg dog will need 11ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
You can syringe it carefully down to the animal’s throat, or mix it with some honey to make it more palatable. After giving the hydrogen peroxide, you should walk your dog for a few minutes for maximum effect and monitor for any vomiting. You can give the second dose if your dog did not vomit within 15 minutes. However, if your dog still has not vomited after the 2nd dose, you should make your way to the vet as soon as possible.
If your dog had vomited successfully, watch carefully to avoid your dog to re-ingested the vomitus. You should then bring your dog to the vet as your dog may need further diagnostic tests and medications depending on the dose and type of the poisons.
**Please do not induce vomiting when:
- the caustic substance is a strong acid or alkaline e.g. bleach, that will cause more problem to the oesophagus if it is coming back up
- the animal is unsafe to induce vomiting e.g. unconscious, weak to swallow, seizure, lethargic..etc
- the animal had already vomited or when the substance had been ingested a long time ago (>4 hours), as further vomiting may not help.
If your dog started to show clinical signs e.g. lethargy, weakness, seizure or even collapse, please bring your dog to your nearest veterinarian immediately. It is not advisable to induce vomiting at home in a weak animal, as it may cause more harm to the animal.
How to keep your dogs safe?
- Identify the poisons around your house and keep them away from your pets.
- Common food poisons include chocolate, onions, grapes, tea leaves or caffeine-containing products, alcohol, avocado, macadamia nuts, xylitol, and mushrooms.
- Common household poisons include bleach, essential oils, toilet cleaning tablets, anti-freeze, vinegar, cigarettes and human medications e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, topical creams, and mosquito repellent.
- Call your veterinarian, or bring to your dog to the vet if you suspect poisoning. Remember to bring along the wrappers or package boxes of the product for the vet to evaluate the toxic ingredients.
- Identify the poisons in the environment and watch out for anything your dog had picked up.
- Before entering a park, watch out for any signs or notices about pesticides or fertilizers used in the park.
- If your dog had picked up something, safely remove it from the mouth if the dog allows you to do so (don’t get bitten!). If your dog had ingested something suspicious, contact your family vet as soon as possible and monitor your dog for signs of weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and anorexia.
- Keeping your dog on a leash when go for walks will let you have a better control and supervision on your dog. The length of the leash should be adjusted to keep your dog within a few steps around you.
- Know your nearest veterinary clinic!
- Keep a note of the addresses and phone numbers of the vet clinics around you, so you can contact them when necessary.
- Keep a record of the brief medical history and medications of your pets, so the vet can review them immediately on your arrival.
Emergency? We can help!
The Emergency and Critical Care team at VSH Hong Kong is on site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The patients in our ICU are never left unattended. You can rest assured that as your pet recovers, he or she will be cared for at all times.
Our emergency doctors and nursing staff always work together with our specialists, and with both you and your family veterinarian, to provide the comprehensive care your pet needs.
Our team is here, day or night, including holidays and weekends. If your dog or cat is sick or injured, we understand that this may be a stressful and difficult time for you. We are fully-equipped to handle even the most complicated medical and surgical emergencies. We offer the most current technological services in a calm, relaxing environment to help to minimize anxiety in our patients and their families.
我們的團隊不分晝夜提供服務，包括公眾假期及週末。如果您的貓狗生病或受傷，我們理解這可能是您最緊張和困難的時候。本院設施齊備，可以處理最複雜的醫療及外科緊急程序。我們在寧靜、輕鬆的環境提供最先進的技術與服務，儘量減少寵物及其家屬的焦慮。Download Xylitol poisoning 木糖醇中毒