GILBERT, Ariz. – Jeni Connor’s Labrador retriever was slowly recovering at Emergency Animal Clinic in Gilbert after ingesting xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. That’s when Connor decided she had to act.
So Connor and her daughters Whitney, 9, and Haley, 11, posted a Facebook video warning other pet owners about the dangerous substance that almost killed their dog, Dancer.
It went viral. As of today, the video has been viewed more than 25,000 times by people throughout the U.S., as well as Canada and the Netherlands.
“We had really hoped that this video would reach lots of people, but did not imagine the kind of response it would get,” Connor said.
Dancer is a happy and loveable 1-year-old who, like a lot of dogs, has a tendency to get into any food she can find. Somehow she found a container of sugar-free gum in a gym bag on top of a counter and ate roughly 25 pieces.
After discovering Dancer had eaten the gum, Connor rushed her to the veterinarian’s office. As Connor and her daughters were driving, Dancer suffered a seizure – prompting tears and screams from the girls.
At the Seville Veterinary Hospital in Gilbert, veterinarians took Dancer in and gave her glucose to restore her blood sugar. She perked up.
Dancer was then transferred to Emergency Animal Clinic, which is affiliated with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, and which offers 24-hour care, seven days a week.
Dr. Raegan Wells, who is board-certified in emergency and critical care, said Dancer’s blood glucose levels were monitored around the clock and that the dog received medicine for possible liver damage. Xylitol prompts dogs’ bodies to secrete too much insulin, which can cause their blood sugar levels drop dangerously.
Xylitol is 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolates. And the number of poisonings is on the rise. In 2015, there were more than 2,800 xylitol-related calls to the Pet Poison Helpline, compared to 300 calls in 2009.
Wells urged dog owners to carefully check the labels of any sugar-free food. Xylitol is typically found in candy, gum — and even some unlikely things such as low-calorie baked goods and reduced-fat peanut butter.
Wells said she’s very happy to report that Dancer was released after a two-day stay at Emergency Animal Clinic in mid-February, and is doing well. “Seeing her together with her family is pretty heartwarming – she’s got two little girls she loves and they love her back.”
Connor said she’s grateful for the top-notch veterinary care that saved Dancer. She’s also pleased her video is spreading the word to help save other dogs from xylitol.
“This is what it’s all about, keeping other dogs from harm and families from heartbreak,” Connor said.