A puppy was an inadvertent victim of the on-going opioid epidemic in the country. What should you do if your pet accidentally ingests opioids?
Zoey's Accidental Overdose
Peter Thibault was on a morning walk with the family's 3-month-old Labrador puppy, Zoey, when the overdose incident happened. When they were near a prestigious academy in a quiet Andover neighborhood, Zoey chanced upon a pack of cigarettes on the ground and toyed with it. Worried that the puppy might choke on the aluminum foil lining on the cigarette pack, Thibault wrestled the pack out of Zoey's mouth and continued on their walk.
Merely two minutes later, and without showing any signs of discomfort, Zoey collapsed right on the street. Thibault rushed Zoey back to their home, but decided to rush her to the veterinarian when the puppy's eyes rolled back, her tongue hung out of her mouth, and her breathing became labored.
She was "limp as a noodle" when they got to the Bulger Veterinary Hospital where Thibault described Zoey's symptoms and the events that led to the puppy's collapse. He was then asked to leave the room, but merely five minutes later, he was called back to see Zoey conscious and active.
According to veterinarian Kristine Demers, knowing that Zoey chewed on something from the streets and then collapsed just a few minutes later, they quickly considered Zoey's case to be that of an accidental opioid overdose. As such, they opted to give Zoey a shot of the overdose reversal drug which proved to be effective.
Zoey was kept at the animal hospital and released 12 hours after. She is expected to make a full recovery as she was treated immediately. However, if treatment had not been given, the dog may have died.
Opioid Overdose In Pets
Signs of opioid poisoning in pets include vomiting, walking like they are drunk, dilated pupils in cats, pinpoint pupils in dogs, sedation, seizures, tremors, comatose, slow respiratory and/or heart rate, and respiratory arrest or a sudden stop in breathing.
These symptoms may be seen within 30 minutes from exposure. If you think your pet may have accidentally ingested opiates or opioids, it is imperative to rush them immediately to an animal hospital as quick decontamination, monitoring, and treatment are important in their survival, even if the symptoms have not yet begun to show.
Opioid and opiate poisoning is a serious condition that can lead to death if not immediately addressed. The case of Zoey shows that pets are not immune to the dangers of the on-going opioid epidemic, especially since opioids and opiates may be dangerous to cats and dogs even in small dosages.