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Acute Hepatic Failure in a Dog after Xylitol Ingestion


Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol produced from natural resources frequently used as a sugar substitute for humans. We report the development and successful treatment of acute hepatic failure and coagulopathy in a dog after xylitol ingestion. A 9-year-old 4.95 kg (10.9 lb) neutered male Chihuahua was evaluated at a veterinary clinic for vomiting after ingesting 224 g (45 g/kg, 20.5 g/lb) of granulated xylitol. Hypoglycemia developed within 1–2 h, elevated liver values, suggesting the development of acute hepatic failure, within 12 h and coagulopathy less than 24 h after ingestion. Treatment included maropitant, intravenous dextrose, phytonadione, metronidazole, and fresh frozen plasma. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and S-adensoyl-l-methionine (SAMe) provided hepatic detoxification and support. The dog survived and liver values returned to normal within 1 month post ingestion. No adverse effects to hepatic function have been identified 2 years after acute xylitol toxicity. This paper is one of the few reports of successful management of a dog with hypoglycemia, hepatic failure, and coagulopathy caused by xylitol toxicity. To date, this is the highest published xylitol dose survived by a dog, as well as the only reported case that documents laboratory changes throughout the course of toxicity and includes normal hepatic indices for 7 months following xylitol toxicity. The rapidly expanding use of xylitol in a variety of products intended for human consumption has led to a rise in xylitol toxicity cases reported in dogs, and clinicians should be aware that more dogs may potentially be exposed and develop similar manifestations.

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Correspondence to Renee D. Schmid.

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Schmid, R.D., Hovda, L.R. Acute Hepatic Failure in a Dog after Xylitol Ingestion. J. Med. Toxicol. 12, 201–205 (2016).

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  • Dog
  • Xylitol
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hepatic failure
  • N-acetylcysteine