ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. - A Nashville area family is coping with the loss of a 3-year-old dog who died unexpectedly.
"We joke that he was a lot like me. He loved to eat and he loved to snuggle," Christy Figlio told WZTV, as she described her dog, Canon.
The husky mix seemed perfectly healthy until Saturday night when he suddenly stopped eating and started drinking a lot.
"Then he started vomiting the water and so that kind of was the red flag that made us decide to take him to the hospital. They gave us some IV fluids, sent us home with a bunch of antibiotics, and told us if he got worse, take him on to Nashville's Pet ER," said Figlio.
- Health department reveals new details on suspected cases of mysterious illness
- Social Security checks will grow in 2019 as inflation rises
- Person struck, killed by tractor-trailer on I-79
- VOTE for your Week 7 Band of the Week
- VIDEO: Timeline of furniture-throwing incident involving Antonio Brown
- DOWNLOAD the Channel 11 News app for breaking news alerts
Shortly after they got home, things took a turn for the worse. "When he dropped to the floor and started shaking, I panicked."
They rushed him to the emergency vet who told them Canon's liver was failing because of the artificial sweetener, Xylitol.
"She said 'You know, I don't know if he's been into any kind of peanut butter, any kind of sugar-free gum' and I looked at home and we have Mentos gum and that was the No. 1 ingredient," said Figlio.
Veterinarian Eva Evans says Xylitol is extremely deadly to dogs. "The first signs you're gonna see usually are weakness, muscle tremors, inability to stand, and that progresses to seizures as their blood sugar keeps dropping lower and lower," said Evans.
She says if a dog eats the artificial sweetener, it's a race against time to get them to the vet. "It's a true emergency, because the longer you wait, the more damage it does to the liver."
For Canon, the Xylitol had done too much damage. After hours of treatment with things just getting worse, his owners had to let him go. "I could just tell. I knew we weren't gonna be bringing him home. And I lost my dad a year ago, unexpectedly, and this was a very close second," said Figlio.
Now, she just wants others to be aware of what's in their homes so no one else has to go through what they're going through.
Figlio says her other dog keeps looking for Canon.