- If your pet has ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately. Xylitol is known to be toxic to dogs, however its effects on cats are unknown at this stage.
- Your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting, however, do not induce vomiting unless instructed to.Vomiting should only be induced in asymptomatic animals and should never be induced in tremoring, seizuring or comatose animals.
- Animals that are obviously weak or wobbly may have low blood glucose. If they are conscious, smear honey, treacle or maple syrup on their gums.
- If possible, provide the packaging or recipe of the product ingested to your veterinarian to aid in determination of the toxin and dose received.
Food additive E967 or 967
In dogs, xylitol can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) and liver failure. However, currently the severity is unknown in cats.
Clinical signs occur in 30-60 minutes following ingestion (liver effects may be delayed up to 72 hours)
- Uncoordinated or wobbly gait (ataxia)
- Yellow-tinged gums and mucus membranes (jaundice)
- Bruising (due to reduced ability to clot)
EFFECTS OF TOXICITY
In dogs, xylitol promotes insulin release, leading to low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) and affects liver metabolism (which can lead to liver failure)
Veterinary care may include intravenous fluids, glucose, liver protectants and in severe cases plasma or blood transfusions. Blood glucose and liver function should be monitored until signs have resolved.
Bough M (2011) Food-Associated Intoxications. In: Small Animal Toxicology Essentials ed. RH Poppenga and SM Gwaltney-Brant. London: Wiley-Blackwell. Pp217-218.
BSAVA (2012) BSAVA/VPIS Guide to Common Canine and Feline Poisons. Gloucester: BSAVA.
Fawcett A, Phillips A and Malik R (2010) Hypoglycaemia and acute hepatic failure associated with accidental xylitol ingestion in a dog. Australian Veterinary Practitioner 40:142