Interstate Veterinary Hospital

421 East Fifth
P.O Box 460
Centuria, WI
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Be Careful This Halloween!

Human sweets and treats can be a health hazard for our pets. Interstate Veterinary Hospital would like to make you aware of a couple common toxins that your pets may encounter, Xylitol and Chocolate.  Xylitol has quickly moved to  the number 1 toxin reports to the ASPCA, and Pet Poison Hotline.  While chocolate has dropped down the list some, it is still important and frequent.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol often used as a sweetener in gum, mints, candies, toothpaste, flavored multi-vitamins and desserts.  It can be listed as Xylitol, Sorbitol, Malitol and is found in items labeled sugar free or sugarless.  Xylitol is considered safe for humans, but has proven to be toxic to dogs. It is actually considered to be 100 times as toxic as chocolate. As few as 9 pieces of gum can cause severe hypoglycemia (a dangerous drop in the dogs blood sugar levels)  to a 45 pound dog as soon as 10 -30 minutes after ingestion.  Untreated xylitol poisoning can also cause liver damage . Currently toxicity to cats, ferrets and other species is unknown.  Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, jaundice, loss of coordination, and seizures.  Treatment may include monitoring blood sugar levels and liver values. intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalization. Xylitol toxicity can be fatal, however, treatment administered quickly has the best results.
Chocolate is a common ingredient in many food items. The occasional  chocolate chip in a cookie may not be an issue for our pets, but certain types if chocolate can be very toxic.  Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate pose the largest threat. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. That is because it contains a larger amount of theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine. Young and geriatric pets, and those with underlying disease are at highest risk for poisoning.  Generally small amounts of chocolate will cause vomiting and diarrhea, while larger amounts can cause agitation, tachycardia (high heart rate), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, collapse, and possibly death. Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate some pets develop inflammation of the pancreas after ingestion as well. If you witness ingestion, or see symptoms, call you veterinarian so the appropriate treatment can be started as soon as possible.

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