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Atomoxetine is a widely used medication for the treatment of ADHD and its symptoms in children and adults. Due to its frequent use in human it is often located in homes with pets and can become a problem if an accidental ingestion takes place.
This is a common enough problem that the ASPA Poison Control received over 700 phone calls from 2003-2013 regarding possible exposure to atomoxetine. However, due to the limited number of studies done on the possible toxicity of atomoxetine in your dog, information on how it can hurt him can be limited.
Atomoxetine poisoning in your dog may result after any ingestion of atomoxetine (also known as Strattera). This medication is used for ADHD in humans; however, it has no medical use for your dog and even in small doses can be toxic to him. Atomoxetine may be readily available to your dog due to it’s popularity as an ADHD medication and therefore, accessibility in the home.
There are a limited number of studies that have been done in regards to how your dog may react to atomoxetine poisoning, but some symptoms have been noted. Symptoms can present within 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion.
Any ingestion of atomoxetine has been noted to be dangerous to your dog as it has no function in your dog’s body. The only cause of the poisoning is ingestion of the substance. Being aware of what your dog can get into at your home or any homes you may visit can reduce the chances of him accidentally ingesting this substance.
If you suspect your dog has ingested atomoxetine it is important to call your veterinarian, emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA pet poisoning center and identify what your next steps need to be. You will be asked what your dog had access to, how much, when, and more details, to help the medical professional determine how you should proceed.
A physical examination may be done to see what symptoms, if any, your dog is exhibiting. Testing may also be done in regards to your dog’s kidney function and electrolyte levels, and his blood pressure and heart rate monitored. Unfortunately, at this time there is no test that can determine if your dog did or did not ingest atomoxetine.
It is recommended if you suspect your dog has ingested atomoxetine that you try to induce vomiting in your dog if it is within 30 minutes and there are no symptoms of poisoning as of yet. If you bring your dog to receive medical care he may be administered active charcoal to bind the toxins, IV lipid emulsion, and medications (such as acepromazine, apomorphine, chlorpromazine, cyproheptadine, diazepam, maropitant, misoprostol, ondansetron, propofol or xylazine), among other drugs to induce vomiting as well.
Once the substance is out of his system, close monitoring will be done on his heart rate and blood pressure. Your veterinarian will also monitor your dog’s hydration levels to ensure he does not become dehydrated in the process.
Your dog may be administered medication to help him with any hypersensitivity or hyperactivity while under the veterinarian’s care. Lastly, your dog’s kidneys may be monitored as well to ensure no kidney failure. If your dog is able to remain free of any symptoms for 6 hours he will most likely be released to return home.
Your dog will be allowed to return home once his heart rate, blood pressure, kidney function and other symptoms have returned to normal. If it is an emergency veterinarian visit, you may be encouraged to bring him to his normal veterinarian for a checkup following the incident.
If your dog is healthy with no underlying medical issues, he will most likely make a full recovery. If your dog receives prompt treatment he will have good prognosis of not having any long term consequences.
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