Thankful this holiday season

Posted by bgerson
Jan 2, 2009
We're thankful this holiday season for many things but mostly that Bart, our 8 year old Australian Terrier, is still with us.

Here's Bart story (long):

Around Thanksgiving, one of our dogs took an entire case of chewing gum from the hall table where it was to go back to Costco. I'm not talking about a package, but a box of packages; approximately 100 pieces. We found the packaging shredded all over the backyard and assumed our little "retarded" Silky Terrier, Appy, got into it. We didn't worry much about it and didn't think about it for quite awhile.

The day after Thanksgiving, Bart became listless and wouldn't eat or do much of anything. We took him to the vet on Monday at which time our doctor thought that it might be pancreatitis, took some blood for tests, gave him a couple of 'scripts and sent us home to await the results.

That night, he slept fitfully and shivered most of the time. The next morning, he was nearly unresponsive and we rushed him to the vet immediately. He was diagnosed with acute liver failure (values which should have been in the high teens were over 3,000) and acute kidney failure (very high creatinine and BUN levels). He was placed on IV fluids and several medications and stayed in the hospital for 11 days while they tried to diagnose the problem. We scoured the Internet for similar symptoms and found various issues all of which the vets tested and ultimately ruled out. We found mention of Xylitol poisoning on the increase in dogs (and remembered the "missing" gum) but the symptoms typically included brain damage and death within 48 hours and he was going on over a week. In any case, the course of treatment would have been the same.

On the 11th day of hospitalization, we decided that his condition was stabilizing and it would be better, regardless of the outcome, for him to be home with us in familiar surroundings. The vets agreed believing that there was nothing more which they could do and the prognosis wasn't good, long-term.

In the hospital, we attributed his failure to eat to depression and medication. Once we got him home, we finished the course of meds, especially the THREE antibiotics he was taking. Sure enough, his appetite returned as the flora in his digestive system returned (we gave him as much goat yogurt as he would eat) and, I'm happy to say that he is now eating normally although he no longer likes the dry food he used to eat. His liver function is now normal, his creatinine is approaching the normal range and he's now on subQ fluids every other day. We hope that we can wean him off of the fluids completely but there may have been permanent damage to his kidneys and he might need support for the rest of his life. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

It's REALLY important to keep things away from our curious dogs' noses. We didn't know about Xylitol thinking that it was no more harmful than the other sugar alcohols (which all of our dogs have gotten to over the years), but we were wrong.

Happy Holidays,

Bruce and Linda
Bart, Appy and Mick (picture order)
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 3, 2009
Thank you for sharing your scary experience.

I totally agree with you about keeping things out of reach of our 4 legged family members. They are same as children. You would not leave dangerous stuff within reach of your children.

I am so glad that Bart is getting better. Hope you are having a wonderful new year!
Posted by bgerson
Jan 3, 2009
We never had a problem before with any of our dogs over the years. Only since adding Bart to the pack have we had a dog that had to get into everything. We've taken to baby-proofing the house, as much as possible.