So Thursday night at about 8:30 I’m relaxing in my favorite chair, feet propped up on the ottoman, when I decided to check on one of my foster cats. A couple minutes later I return to find my dog Taffy munching something orange. I thought, what is that? That’s when I saw what was left of a pack of gum.
I’m a gum chewer from way back, which is why a friend gave me a pack of Trident Orange Swirl with my Christmas gift. It sat on the table next to my chair, which apparently was a big mistake. Sugar free Trident has xylitol in it and is extremely toxic to dogs. So I quickly called Pet Emergency because Taffy didn’t have the courtesy to poison herself during regular business hours.
Pet Emergency had me call the ASPCA Poison Hotline to give them info so they’d know how to treat Taffy. Turns out xylitol causes hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure and sometimes death. It’s even more toxic to dogs than chocolate.
The ASPCA proceeded to ask me a series of questions as I raced down the freeway. Breed? Papillon/Chihuahua. Age? About 3. Weight? 8 lbs. What did she ingest? gum. How much did she ingest? 6 pieces. When? 5 minutes ago. I arrived at the hospital no more than 20 minutes after ingestion, all the while rehearsing the story I’d tell the cop who would undoubtedly be pulling me over for speeding.
Poor Taffy shook so badly in her carrier it practically vibrated. Because of Covid, nobody can enter the vet hospital so I parked in the last available spot in the lot, joining 7 other cars where worried pet guardians passed the wait on their phones or laptops.
It wasn’t long before the vet tech called to ask if I’d give them permission to give Taffy something to force her throw up. I said no. (Just kidding!) I can’t believe they’d ask me that. I said, “OF COURSE. Do whatever you have to do.” I mean seriously, does anyone actually say no?
Anyway, they explained why the xylitol had to be removed ASAP so as not to cause liver damage. Apparently this chemical releases a rush of insulin, causing blood sugar to plunge dangerously low. To counteract that, Taffy required a continual intravenous glucose drip. Who knew xylitol was so awful? Maybe I need to start chewing gum with good old fashioned sugar in it.
The vet tech sent me on my way saying they’d need to hospitalize Taffy overnight until her blood levels returned to normal. I’ve only had her for 22 months but it was odd having her gone for 22 hours. She sticks to me like Super Glue and normally sleeps under the covers curled into my neck. That part, I have to admit, I didn’t miss too much. I freely tossed and turned without her shooting me a look of annoyance for disturbing her slumber.
Now don’t get me wrong; I admit it was my fault leaving gum where my pets could reach it. I also jinxed myself for recently telling a friend I’ve been lucky my pets haven’t had many medical issues. And I even knocked on wood! So much for tempting fate.
As I write this, Taffy is sound asleep on my lap, happy to be home and thrilled to be with her 8 furry brothers and sisters. The way they carried on, you’d have thought she was gone for weeks. They love homecomings; I should know, I get one each time I walk through the door.
So how was your Thursday night?