Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pet Medications & Xylitol - What You Don't Know Could Kill Your Pet

Blog the Change for Animals occurs every 3 months Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct logo Today is the "Blog the Change for Animals" event, in which pet bloggers from all over write about important animal related causes and topics that are important to them. We do it 4 times a year, and it's hosted by "Be The Change for Animals". We all share a passion for blogging and making our voices heard about the rights and needs of animals all over the world.
My topic, accidental pet poisonings by Xylitol, hits very close to home. Xylitol is a hidden danger that many family pets have fallen victim to in one form or another, and I was almost one of those victims about 6 months ago. My Mommy and I have never talked about it publicly until today, but we wanted to let everyone know about how important it is to be vigilant when it comes to Xylitol and your pets.

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets! Xylitol can kill your pet. I might sound overly dramatic, but I am just being brutally honest. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in all kinds of things from chewing gum to candy to liquid medicines. Xylitol is estimated to be 100 times more toxic than chocolate to dogs! So this is a topic to take very seriously. Several good websites are available with information on this Xylitol poisoning in pets including the Pet Poison Hotline and the FDA. VCA Animal Hospitals has a "Xylitol toxicity in dogs" page on their website as well.
Pixel Blue Eyes posing with her veterinarian Dr. Mask All veterinarians and all pet compounding pharmacies should be well informed about Xylitol's toxicity in pets. Every time I need to have a liquid medicine of ANY kind, my vet always asks the parties involved about Xylitol. She calls everyone involved in the making of the medication to make sure that Xylitol is not an ingredient.
As more and more human pharmacies begin advertising that they can fill pet prescriptions, not all of them are going through the official certification process. This certification process ensures they know all of the specific substances that are toxic or deadly to pets. What is safe for a human is not always safe for your pet. Although humans and pets may take the same specific medications, the formulations are often different due to the inactive ingredients such as Xylitol.

Be especially careful about pharmacies that state they can compound pet prescriptions.  Pet compounding pharmacy certification is even more rigorous and expensive, so many pharmacies might not take the time to go through that process. Without that certification, they might not know about a pet toxin like Xylitol. It does not matter how well meaning or innocent they are...if they give you a bottle of poison to give your pet, it won't matter "how nice they were".
Xylitol is estimated to be 100 times more toxic than chocolate to dogs!
Six months ago, a local pharmacy that had recently gotten their compounding license, filled my dog prescription for liquid Gabapentin (a nerve pain medication for my docked tail pain). They had filled it before and everything had been okay. This time something was wrong. It looked and smelled completely different from the previous bottle Mommy had gotten before. She asked the pharmacy staff about it, and they reassured her it was the same medication and the same dose. Mommy did NOT feel right about it. She quizzed them, telling them it was for a dog, and they swore it was the same exact medication she'd always gotten. It was just clear now instead of being milky like before. It was a Friday, and no one with real authority at the pharmacy was going to be available to ask about it until the following Monday. Mommy was absolutely sick with worry. She had a horrible feeling that something was wrong with the medication. She left the pharmacy with the odd liquid medicine anyways.
My precious older sister Peanut had just been released from the hospital after staying for over a week with complete liver failure, having almost died from a mysterious "toxin" that the doctors couldn't identify. We were so scared and had daily vigils at home and at the hospital praying she'd make it. Peanut was supposed to start taking the same liquid Gabapentin for her knee issues once she got home. She had been taking a different compounded liquid medicine from the same pharmacy before she became ill...

Mommy was upset and worried all weekend, and refused to give me the strange liquid Gabapentin based on her gut feeling. I have several health issues including a compromised liver for which I take other medication to prevent further damage. Mommy did not want to risk a strange medicine she was unsure about, so she managed to stretch the little bit of Gabapentin I had left from the old bottle to last me through the weekend. On Monday morning, Mommy talked to the head pharmacist and made him read every ingredient on the label from this different Gabapentin liquid. It was then she discovered that the large bottle of clear, icky-sweet smelling Gabapentin they sent home with Mommy, that they insisted was okay and safe for her dog to take , had Xylitol in it.
If Mommy had tried to give it to me 3 times a day over that weekend, I never would have made it to the second dose. If Peanut had taken it, who had just suffered full liver failure? She would not be here today. 

This is what Xylitol does specifically to a dog's system:
1. Xylitol is immediately absorbed in the  dog's  bloodstream.  
2. The dog's body responds by releasing huge amounts of insulin. 
3. The rapid insulin release causes a severe hypoglycemic attack for the dog.  (All of this occurs in less than 10 minutes!)
4. Xylitol,  even   in small doses, can and will cause liver failure.
5. Signs of Xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremors, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black-tarry stools, and sometimes coma or death. 
Dogs with health issues and compromised immune systems are at especially high risk.

Please be vigilant and know what you are giving your pet. It can be the difference between life and death. If you receive pet medications that are questionable, or are different than the normal formulation you are used to (looks different, smells different, feels different)...when in doubt, don't give it to them!! Never be afraid to ask questions of your pharmacist, don't be afraid to question the medication, and of course, always speak with your veterinarian. 

This is a 'Be the Change for Animals' blog hop. Visit some of the other animal related topics below to see how other pet bloggers are "blogging the change" for animals!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pixel Blue Eyes Celebrates the Joy of Rubber Duckie Day...ALL WEEK LONG!

Okay, officially it was January 13th, but to me, it's not just a day, it's a state of mind, so I'm celebrating National Rubber Duckie Day for an entire week!
I celebrate rubber duckies unlike many others you might know. Rubber duckies are my friends. I have many rubber duckies. I celebrate each of them for their uniqueness. I started out with one, and then the family grew. The one pictured with me here is Pinkie Tuskadero Duckie. She and I play together a lot, but I also play with her brothers Little Duck Blue and Green Day Duckie.
Do you know the history of Rubber Duckie Day? It is the birthday of Sesame Street's Ernie's famous Rubber Duckie. Isn't that cool? Learn more interesting Rubber Duckie Facts at
I started out with a beloved purple duckie named Purple Duckie. He was my very first one. We played and played all the time for a year, then one day he just...broke in half. It was sad and tragic. I moped for days...weeks. Mommy searched and searched for his family, and then one day they showed up! It was so wonderful, and that very day I made up my mind to never let another duckie fall like purple duckie again.
So, I used my nursing skills and Mommy's surgeon skills and we started a Duckie Hospital for injured duckies. That is how I still have Pinkie with me. That story I will be sharing later...but we did save her life. This photo is her right before her surgery last month.
Let me show you just how much I enjoy my rubber duckie friends. We have such fun together! I've created the BEST game, it's like a puzzle game, Mommy doesn't even know the rules, it's so advanced, but the duckies know. They love it! Here's a video of me and Little Duck Blue playing together:

I hope you leave today with a greater appreciation for the Joy of Rubber Duckies. Have fun celebrating the Joy of Rubber Duckies with me. Do you have a rubber duckie story to share? I'd love to hear about it!
This is a #WordlessWednesday Hop! Hosted by my friends at BlogPaws. Click on some links below to see what other pets are doing on this fine Wordless Wednesday.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WINNERS ANNOUNCED in the 12 Days of Christmas "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" GIVEAWAY!!

Hello Friends! I am so very excited to reveal the winners in the 12 Days of Christmas "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" GIVEAWAY!! As promised, we have 7 winners.
First, I'll give a breakdown of the prizes, as first listed in the book review and giveaway post from December 24th, 2014.
1st Prize ~ Autographed 2 Book Set "The Chronicles of Mister Marmee" by H.L. Stephens (1 winner)
2nd Prize ~ Autographed copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (2 winners!)
3rd Prize ~ e-Book copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (4 Winners!!)

1. 1st Prize - Cheryl M.
2. 2nd Prize - Janet K.
3. 2nd Prize - Sharon E.
4. 3rd Prize - Coyote B.
5. 3rd Prize - Brenda H.
6. 3rd Prize - Laura B. S.
7. 3rd Prize - Becky
Congratulations Winners!!!

I will be emailing each of these winners so that I can get their print or e-books to them as soon as possible. I hope that each winner enjoys the books immensely! Please let me know what you think. I always love to hear about a good book, even when I've already read it! Thank you so much friends for all of you who took part in this fantastic giveaway. It was loads of fun and I can't wait to do it again. That's right, stay tuned for other giveaways I'll be having in 2015...I'm planning on many good things, so keep visiting!
If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to email me. My email address spelled out (to avoid getting spammed by automated web bots) is: pixelblueeyes dot blog at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pixel & Pinkie Duckie Try Avoiding Temptation in the New Year

We all have our weaknesses...mine is food that seems lonely. I just want to give it a nice home with me. I'm working hard at not giving in to that temptation in 2015. I've already faltered once when Mommy walked away from her yummy sandwich for a moment. I thought she left it for me. I thought wrong. It was a harrowing 5 minutes as I had to sit on the hassock and "think about what I had done" in a "time out" in which I was not allowed back on the bed with her. Separation from Mommy can be brutal. After the five minutes, I offered her my lunch to eat, but she declined. I apologized, she forgave me & we snuggled together for some time. I do hate those times of weakness.

So, after that now infamous "Mommy Sandwich Snatching Incident", I'm looking temptation in the eyes (or in the bag of treats) and saying, "No more!" Besides, I've found that looking cute while sitting close to my Auntie while SHE eats guarantees me a few bites of whatever she's eating that is dog safe... Mommy had NO idea this was going on til she saw it the other morning. I'd better make sure she doesn't see that again or my treat ticket right there will dry up! Now where was I? Oh yes, looking temptation in the eyes...

"...NO Pinkie Tuskadero Duckie, I will NOT "split the bag of Rice Chex treats with you 50/50". I can't believe you are asking me that. How can you even think that?"
"... You know you'd never be able to eat more than 20%." 

Happy late #WordlessWednesday friends!! This is a blog hop, hosted by my friends at BlogPaws. Check out some of my fellow pet bloggers by clicking the links below and see what they are doing in the early new year! Care to link up with the hop? Instructions are below....