GLENWOOD CITY, Wis. – Anyone with a dog knows how curious and resourceful they can be around anything edible. That curiosity apparently killed a dog in Western Wisconsin.
Luna, a 2-year-old golden retriever, was put down by her owners Tuesday evening after she ingesting Xylitol-laden gum on Monday. Luna had suffered severe liver damage.
"Luna had gotten into a container of gum, actually chewed it open herself," said Samantha Caress, 22. She, boyfriend Jordan Pellett ,22, and their son, Grady, 7 months, are devastated.
"She was like our first child. She was like our family before we even had Grady," said Caress.
Caress and Pellett said the dog ingested the "Ice Breaker" Lemon-flavor gum while the couple was out of the home in rural Glenwood City. They rushed her to the Animal Emergency Center in Oakdale, Minnesota early Tuesday.
"They actually called, later, after we dropped her off about three four hours, and they said her blood came back and it wasn't good," sobbed Caress.
The Center said a treatment for Luna would cost $20,000, beyond their means.
"And they said it was still only a 25% chance that she would live from it and we just didn't want her to suffer so we had to put her down," said Caress.
"Certain types of sugar-free gum have huge amounts of Xylitol," said Dr. Justine Lee, Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Minnesota. "A lot of people do not think about it, but Xylitol's a product in sugar-free vitamins. They are in toothpaste. They are in dental floss. They are in nasal sprays or in gums or in baked goods and as little as a couple of pieces of gum can result in severe hypoglycemia, so a life threatening drop in blood sugar and actually liver failure."
Lee suggested that anyone with a dog should check the ingredients on any products they buy. If Xylitol is in the first three or five ingredients, keep the product away from the reach of the dog.
"Elevate your purse or your backpack, so your dog can't get into it," said Lee. "Make sure you put vitamins or chewable products out of reach on a shelf."
She also recommended pre-programming a cell phone with the number of a veterinarian and ASPC Animal Poison Control to receive fast advice on a dog's situation.
The advice and the information about Xylitol comes too late for Caress and Pellett. Now, the hope to spare other dog owners their pain.
"We started a fund on go fund me under Luna's name," said Pellett. "It is called Luna-s Gift of Hope and all the proceeds are going to be going to CoCo's Heart Dog Rescue at Hudson, Wisconsin. Our goal right now is set at pretty high at $20,000. It is just what it would have cost to try to save Luna. So, if we could raise that and all those proceeds to help them save other dogs, out of the rescue, that'd be great."
Caress and Pellett said they are just trying to change their horrific experience into something positive.