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Dog owners warned over sugar-free items

October 3rd 2006 6:24 am
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Reuters News Service
1. http://news. s/nm/20060929/ us_nm/life_ dogs_dc
Fri Sep 29, 6:56 PM ET

Keep those sugarless treats out of Fido's reach. Veterinarians
warned on Friday that a commonly used sweetener might cause liver
failure in dogs, and perhaps even kill them.

Their report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical
Association appears to strengthen the suspected link between the
sugar substitute xylitol, thought to make dogs sick, and possible
liver failure.

Xylitol, a naturally occurring product, is found in many sugar-free
chewing gums, candies, baked goods and toothpastes.

Researchers Sharon Gwaltney-Brant and Eric Dunayer with staff at a
poison unit of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals in Urbana, Illinois, gathered information on eight dogs
treated between 2003 and 2005 after eating products containing

Each dog became ill, and five died or had to be put down because of
liver failure, possibly from ingesting xylitol.

One dog who had to be euthanized had eaten four large, chocolate-
frosted muffins containing about 1 pound (0.45 kg) of xylitol.

"People don't think sugar-free gum can kill their dog. I didn't
before I got into this. But this is something people should be aware
of," Gwaltney-Brant, who co-authored the study with Dunayer, said in
a statement.

Gwaltney-Brant said for dogs, ingesting even a small amount of
xylitol can trigger significant insulin release, which drops their
blood sugar and can be fatal.

"A 22-pound (10-kg) dog who consumes one gram (0.03 ounces) of
xylitol should be treated," she said, adding that further studies
were needed to definitely establish a cause-and-effect relationship.


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