The owner of two Border Collie X dogs – Layla and Bonnie, spent her afternoon cooking up a storm in their kitchen and baking a delicious cake. After staring up at owner, Sarah, begging for a piece, Sarah gave in and gave them a piece each. Later on that afternoon, when Sarah took her beautiful fur babies for a walk, Sarah noticed that Bonnie had started to wobble slightly on her feet and become twitchy. Shortly thereafter, Layla started to become weak in her body movements too, and she rushed them to Animal Emergency Service at Carrara.

Dr Oriana reviewed both Bonnie and Layla upon arrival to the clinic, speaking to Sarah to find out what had happened that day. After identifying that Sarah had given the two dogs a piece of cake, Dr Oriana found that Sarah had used a sugar substitute, Xylitol, inside the cake – which is toxic for dogs.

With Bonnie exhibiting behaviour in line with seizures, and Layla lethargic and weak, Dr Oriana sprang into action and performed a blood glucose test, as Xylitol is known to have a negative effect on a dog’s ability to regulate insulin levels in the body. Both dogs were given glucose through an IV drip to stabilise their conditions and were admitted into hospital for ongoing treatment of Xylitol toxicity.

Once admitted, the Vets at AES were able to assist Layla by inducing vomiting to get the Xylitol laced cake out of her system. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Bonnie, who was showing neurological signs with a high risk of aspiration. Through the night, both dogs were given activated charcoal to bind the remnants of the Xylitol within the gastrointestinal tract and to prevent further absorption. Meanwhile, veterinary nurses monitored the poor pair. Layla and Bonnie were placed on a drip for a constant supply of glucose into their systems.

When the morning came about, Bonnie remained stable in her condition, but unfortunately, Layla continued to vomit despite an anti-nausea injection. As the team at AES works closely with Veterinary Specialist Service (VSS), Layla was transferred to their practice for ongoing care and monitoring of her condition during the day; she was at high risk of suffering liver failure.

Xylitol stimulates a rapid release of a large amount of insulin from the pancreas, causing a life-threatening drop of blood sugar levels. Xylitol is also toxic to the liver and can cause liver failure in large amounts. Both Bonnie and Layla suffered severe liver insult, resulting in acute liver failure. Vets and Nurses from AES and VSS continued to monitor both dogs throughout the days and nights, discovering that bruises appeared all over Layla as time passed, and her limbs began to swell. Multiple blood transfusions were needed for the pair to assist in maintaining normal functions within their bodies.

Slowly but surely, the first signs of improvement began to show themselves, with liver readings improving and their appetite increasing. Both dogs began to show signs of becoming more responsive and brighter in their composition. Fortunately, both dogs made a full recovery from what proved to be a long and scary time – spending over a week in the emergency department and specialist services. Lucky for them, their owner Sarah had acted so promptly to their initial symptoms, and with constant treatment and care from both the AES and VSS teams, the dogs lives were saved.

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