Letter: …Without hesitation, she said she would meet me at the Ely Vet Clinic. Words cannot begin to express my appreciation for her.

Dear editor,
I need to share something that happened this week for a couple of reasons…
I took Benny and Milo for “rides” on Monday evening to run a few errands. Both of my dogs love car rides so they both come with me almost everywhere.
I had a pack of Orbit gum (the one that fits in your cup holder) that had dropped on my car’s floor but I didn’t think anything of it.
I left the dogs in the car for a few minutes and came back to notice ALL of the gum was gone from the container.
I did a quick Google search to see if gum was bad for dogs and my heart immediately sunk and panic ensued when I read that most sugar-free gum contains xylitol and a single piece can be fatal to dogs within an hour of ingestion.
I immediately called my vet’s office which was closed but there was a recording that told me to call the emergency vet (in Duluth).
I called the emergency vet who told me to call the pet poison control line. After speaking with pet poison control they told me to bring both dogs (because I wasn’t sure who had eaten the gum because they both were in the front seat when I got back to the car) to the emergency vet.
By the time I got off the phone with pet poison control, it became obvious that it was Benny who had eaten the gum. He started acting lethargic and stumbling.
The pet poison control line said that I needed to get him in ASAP and that I needed to give him a tsp of honey every 5-10 minutes on my ride to the vet because xylitol causes a severe drop in blood glucose.
Here’s where it gets scary…I called the emergency vet back to tell them we were on our way and they told me they weren’t accepting anymore patients this evening (it was 8 p.m.) because they were already at capacity and that I would have to bring the dogs to the emergency vet in the Twin Cities. What?!?! I knew Benny would not make it that long and I started calling vet offices everywhere.
That’s when I got a hold of Dr Allie Pace at the Ely Vet Clinic…aka Benny’s angel. Without hesitation, she said she would meet me at the Ely Vet Clinic.
Words cannot begin to express my appreciation for her. We were not patients there. She didn’t know me OR my pets. She did not owe us anything…but there she was, saving my fur baby’s life.
Benny’s blood sugar was dangerously low and his liver enzymes had already started to increase (xylitol kills pets by causing liver failure).
She started him on IV fluids to try to stabilize his blood glucose and medication to try to fend off liver damage.
She offered to take Benny to her house to monitor him for the night and told us that only time would tell if he was going into liver failure.
Lexi and I left there that evening not knowing if that was the last time we’d ever see our boy.
The next morning we found out his liver enzymes had gone up even more and Dr Pace was going to switch to a different medication and monitor him further.
By that evening, his blood sugar had stabilized and his liver enzymes started to GO DOWN! We were able to bring Benny home Tuesday evening on a medication (Acetylcysteine) that we had to administer every six hours around the clock.
By yesterday afternoon his liver function had decreased by another 100 points and we will keep him on the medication today and recheck his liver function tomorrow.
I tell this story because 1) I had no idea that sugar free gum was so dangerous for pets and I want to make sure all the pet owners out there know the danger of keeping it where you have pets (Dr Pace said Icebreakers gum is the worst in terms of xylitol content)…and 2) it opened my eyes of the lack of emergency care available for pets after hours. I think it’s extremely important to investigate what your options are with your current vet in case of an emergency so you are more prepared than I was.
We are so grateful that Benny is doing better and seemingly will make a full recovery.
We know that the story could have (and most likely would have) had a different ending if the Ely Vet Clinic and Dr Allie Pace weren’t available Monday night.
We are forever grateful and they have rightfully gained all of the Hultman pets as forever patients there. Thank you so much, Dr Pace!
Kari Hultman
Virginia, MN