Apex pet owner warns others after xylitol found in dog's medication

Diane Wilson Image
Friday, January 7, 2022
Apex dog owner warns others after pharmacy's medication mishap
An Apex dog owner is warning other pet owners about a mishap involving xylitol.

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- An Apex pet owner is issuing a warning for others after a close call for his beloved dog involving xylitol.

"Xylitol is a dangerous chemical for dogs. They can't process it, it lowers their blood sugar and then can destroy the liver and can lead to death," said dog owner Hansel Bosarge.

Bosarge's 15-year-old dog McLaren, also known as Tubby Mac, is the heart of the Bosarge family.

"This big guy means a lot to us," said Bosarge.

The incident with xylitol happened after Bosarge gave his dog medication. He used Walgreens to fill a prescription of gabapentin for Tubby Mac, which Bosarge says the veterinarian specifically wrote with no xylitol.

"I really didn't think anything of it until I mixed everything together and as I was giving it to him. I realized it smelled sweet. It actually smells really, really sweet," said Bosarge.

Bosarge went back to Walgreens and talked with the pharmacist who looked into it gave him an insert from the original bottle of medication that states "contains xylitol, not for veterinary use."

"I'm like freaking out, so I'm like how much xylitol is in it, what's the toxic dose, 'we don't know, it's not an active ingredient, so we don't know how much xylitol is in it,'" said Bosarge.

Bosarge said he called animal poison control along with his vet. He says the vet reassured him by saying, "It's just one dose; monitor his blood sugar."

Fortunately, Tubby Mac is fine, and Bosarge said Walgreens did refund him for the prescription. However, despite repeated attempts to reach the corporate office via social media, Bosarge said he never heard back.

He reached out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, and she contacted Walgreens, which said it was looking into it, but never provided a statement despite repeated attempts. Bosarge said he is speaking out as he wants to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

"There is no reason that whenever they scanned the medication to affix the label to it, that it wouldn't have said 'Hey this contains xylitol, and this is a canine profile'. There is no reason it should not have been flagged; multiple levels it should have been caught." said Bosarge.

Make sure you talk with your pharmacist if you have a prescription of gabapentin for your dog. Bosarge's Tubby Mac takes the liquid form of gabapentin, and while he says there is one manufacturer that makes it xylitol free, he was given a prescription that contained it. The FDA-approved gabapentin capsules and tablets do not contain xylitol.