What you need to know

Due to the importance of this information and continued inquiries by clients, we are reposting the following fact sheets we previously sent out about leptospirosis and xylitol toxicity.


Here are a few facts about the disease:

  • Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria which are carried by small rodents and excreted in their urine.  The bacteria can live for many months in water.
  • Dogs that are exposed to water sources that may be contaminated by rodents are at risk of catching Leptospirosis.  Most cases are diagnosed in the summer and early fall.
  • Signs that can be seen in dogs with leptospirosis include fever, bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea, unwillingness to eat, lethargy, depression, and yellow tinting to the gums.
  • Leptospirosis infection causes damage to the liver and kidneys.
  • This disease is seen in Minnesota but is not common.  Leptospirosis is treatable with antibiotics if caught early.
  • There is a vaccine available for dogs.  Ask us about it today.


Xylitol Toxicity

You may not have heard of xylitol but it is likely you have a product with it around your house or have had in the past.  Xylitol is a low calorie sugar substitute that can be found in everything from sugar-free gum and candy to tooth paste.  It is also sold in powder form to be used in baking and cooking.  While there have been studies to show the benefits of xylitol to humans, it can be highly toxic in dogs.  Here are a few important facts about xylitol toxicity:

  • It only takes 2-3 pieces of xylitol gum that contains 1g per piece to be toxic to a 50lb dog.
  • Signs of xylitol toxicity include vomiting, ataxia (uncoordinated movements), collapse and seizures.
  • Xylitol causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and liver failure in dogs.
  • If any ingestion of xylitol is suspected or known about in your dog, contact us immediately and bring your dog in for exam.
  • Low blood sugar and liver damage can be treated if caught early enough.  If treatment for these problems is not done quickly enough, the dog can suffer permanent brain and/or liver damage and possibly die.
  • Xylitol had not been proven to cause toxicity in cats or other pets but we recommend not giving any products containing xylitol to any animal.

Xylitol toxicity is serious so please keep your sugar-free products in a safe location away from your four-legged family members.