Etcetera: English setter cheats death after surviving xylitol poisoning | Etc

Dan and I sat in the waiting room late Sunday evening, October 2, watching the clock tick slowly and count our blessings.

We survived the 57.7 mile distance safely, exceeding the posted speed limit, sometimes by 20 mph, on the black two-lane highway to cut driving time by an hour.

Confused, we rushed for the door, working out our game plan on the way. On the way, friend Stu texted us the Pasco Clinic phone number and address to enter into the GPS.

I called ahead on my way to stress Alex had a narrow window to resolve the poison she had ingested. According to a Google search for side effects, she needed treatment within an hour, otherwise the consequences could be deadly.

With tears flowing, my voice muffled, I hesitantly told the receptionist that our female Alex is 6 1/2 years old, weighs 40 pounds, is spayed and ate the poison 20 minutes ago.

I could barely pronounce ‘K’ in response when she said the wait time would be long and ‘K again when I was told she would be gathering data for their records when we arrived.

Only one vet was on duty for what she said statistically was a high volume night.

Luckily, the ER clinic, at maximum capacity, admitted Alex, our soft-haired, mild-tempered, orange-spotted, freckled English Setter.

We listened in the clinic waiting room as other callers were informed with apologies that the facility could not treat their pets until Monday morning.

While waiting for the vet at reception, us restless parents had fun reading the funniest illustrated social distancing posters warning guests to keep at least 6 feet apart to protect against infection and stating: “Keep your distance… at least 3 dachshunds” or “at least 4 penguins dancing apart” or “Maintain social distance, keep a cow apart”.

Just an hour and 30 minutes prior, a container of Ice Breakers Ice Cubes chewing gum – intended for humans – accidentally fell to the ground, opened and spit out its contents.

Quick as the blink of an eye, Alex wolfed down a small spearmint-infused cube before Dan, holding England setter Sage and setter Gordon Molly at bay with one hand and clutching the stray cubes with the other, could catch the last one.

Heartbroken, he read the label on the package and there it was: ingredient number one, the chemical compound xylitol.

Webmd.com reports that natural sugar alcohol comes from many fruits and vegetables. With a sweet taste, it is often used as a sugar substitute.

Good for humans. Not for animals.

“Xylitol is found in many human products and foods, but can have devastating effects on your pet. If you think your dog may have eaten a product containing xylitol, call your veterinarian, emergency clinic, or animal poison control center immediately. fda.gov said in 2021.

Surprisingly, toxic chemicals lurk in seemingly benign things that can harm our pets if ingested: over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen; chemicals in dryer sheets that disperse static electricity; sugar-free gummies and mints with xylitol – deadly to dogs by causing increased insulin levels; and even small amounts of grapes and raisins can be deadly.

Vet Julianne Miller said health-foundation.org that theobromine in chocolate is toxic, even fatal, to dogs. Ingredient levels vary by type of chocolate.

The animal should be evaluated even if it doesn’t ingest a toxic dose, Miller said. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.

This wasn’t our first rush-a-pet-to-the-vet rodeo. In our weariness, we remembered Alex’s three separate surgeries over as many years – two back knees and that rustling flag of a tail.

She blew one knee during pheasant hunting season several years ago and the other knee the following year, same scenario. Surgery and long recovery both times. How do you keep an energetic dog accustomed to running away – well, running?

And the tail? The tip got caught in a closing door. About an inch of bone had to be amputated and the skin wrapped around it and sewn together.

There was the incident of the six little boxes of raisin snacks. We suspect our leader, the late Welsh corgi Scarlett, urged his larger compatriots to pull the entire pack out of the counter where he was awaiting a visit from our grandparents.

It was black foam induced by activated charcoal at the vet.

The dangers of running across fields and through barbed wire fences in search of pheasants has brought more than one smuggler to the vet to mend a tear in the three corners of their skin on their backs.

Without a doubt, we care as much about the well-being of our pets as we do about that of our children. The intense and heart-pounding worry, stress and anxiety are real.

Preventing some of these emergencies is a best practice. And profitable.

The xylitol gum was stored in a cabinet with closed doors, but opened on impact. The raisins were set back on a kitchen counter (obviously not far enough). There are no poisonous plants in our garden.

It’s a bit reminiscent of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale in which Princess Aurora’s parents hid all the spinning wheels in the kingdom to protect her from a witch’s spell. They ultimately failed to stop Aurora from pricking her finger, which put the entire kingdom into a deep sleep. No one could call for help or charge the castle and transport it to a fairy house for a counter-spell in this case, but the antidote, Prince Charming, came up to the rescue with a sword and a kiss.

Awareness and prevention go a long way. Just like with child safety, know what’s in your house for your pets, know what can be harmful. Know what needs to be done. Know who to call.

Put the number and address of a pet emergency veterinarian in your phone contacts.

Check the pantry for toxic foods. Learn about the plants in your garden.

Through fda.gov, I found these pet poison control centers in the United States online. They charge a fee for their services because there is no government funding, but their veterinarians can give you expert veterinary advice right away. I would call ahead when there is no emergency to determine if this is what you would need if something really happened to your pet.

ASPCA Pet Poison Control

Phone: 888-426-4435

petpoisonhelpline.com

Phone: 855-764-7661

Also talk to your local veterinary office during weekday work hours to find out what to do if you need emergency care after hours and on weekends.

The four veterinary offices in Walla Walla and two in Milton-Freewater have varied after-hours services. Check with your veterinarian when taking patients.

A source from the Walla Walla Animal Clinic, where our dogs are patients, said the vets have full hours during regular hours and they don’t have time to stretch into 24-hour shifts. and weekends. Patients are sent to Pasco outside of business hours.

From Walla Walla, help is an hour’s drive away, and that’s if the roads are bare and dry and you’re going over the speed limit in optimal conditions with little traffic.

And Alex? Perhaps because we acted so quickly, she was released at 11 p.m. that evening and is fine.

Treatment involved a prescription drug to induce vomiting. She was released with a large amount of rehydration fluid injected under her skin on her back through her shoulder, which swelled like a CamelBak water bladder. By Monday morning he had been absorbed.

Throughout the episode, Alex remained alert, tail flapping back and forth, eyes shining. We are blessed indeed.