Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Benzodiazepines Poisoning?

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for people with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and for other mental illnesses. Many people with addiction disorders may also take this type of medication. These types of drugs are quite effective in treating a variety of mental illnesses by enhancing the effects of GABA receptors (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the nervous system to produce a calming effect. Benzodiazepines relieve anxiety, help with sleep disorders, and help with muscle relaxation.

In some cases, benzodiazepines may also be prescribed for dog’s that have serious behavior issues. Benzodiazepines may be given to dogs that have fears and phobias from things such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises. These medications are quick to take effect so they are usually given on an as-needed basis.

Benzodiazepines poisoning in dogs can transpire when dogs ingest medications that are in the category of benzodiazepines. This can occur by ingesting human medication or by overdosing on their own medications, if they are prescribed these medications for anxiety.

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Benzodiazepines Poisoning Average Cost

From 54 quotes ranging from $150 - $5,000

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

Benzodiazepines, when taken, absorb completely and rapidly. Dogs that consume these medications may show symptoms very quickly. The onset of symptoms and the severity of symptoms are dependent upon the quantity consumed. Symptoms can include:

  • Weakness
  • Very slow breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Decrease in body temperature
  • Decrease in blood pressure 
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmia

Types

There are several different types of benzodiazepines that can be poisonous if consumed by dogs. Other types of this class of medication include:

  • Xanax, or alprazolam
  • Klonopin, or clonazepam
  • Valium, or diazepam
  • Ativan, or lorazepam
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Causes of Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

When dogs either overdose on their normal dosage of benzodiazepines or consume benzodiazepines for humans, toxicity can occur. It is very important to only give the dog the prescribed amount into keep all medications out of contact with the pet. Benzodiazepines can cause clinical signs of poisoning by:

  • Reacting and depressing  the central nervous system
  • Causing a rapid rise in serum concentrations
  • By binding the benzodiazepine receptor to the GABA receptors within the central nervous system
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Diagnosis of Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

The veterinarian will immediately begin to look at his clinical signs and asking questions pertaining to the quantity ingested in the amount of time that has passed since he consumed the benzodiazepines. The veterinarian will perform blood testing, urinalysis, kidney and liver testing, and may perform an electrocardiogram on the heart and an electroencephalogram. An electroencephalogram can check for brain activity due to central nervous system depression. The veterinarian will test the blood serum amounts due to the fact that an overdose of benzodiazepines can cause a rise in serum concentrations.

The tests the veterinarian performs, along with his clinical signs and your suspicion or witnessing of the dog ingesting the benzodiazepine, will lead them to a diagnosis of toxicity.

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Treatment of Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

Once your dog has been diagnosed with benzodiazepine toxicity, the veterinarian will begin to treat him and monitor his system very closely. Treatment methods include:

Emesis

The veterinarian will perform emesis on the dog only if the act of consuming the drugs were very recent and if he is showing no symptoms.

Gastric Lavage

Gastric lavage is the process of inserting a tube into the esophagus and then into the stomach. This tube is used, with tepid water, to flush out the contents of the stomach. This method of treatment is typically chosen if the dog has ingested a large quantity of pills. Following gastric lavage, activated charcoal is given to further absorb any of the toxins.

Fluid Therapy

Fluid therapy will be given to help support the dog’s blood pressure. Along with this, the dog should be kept calm and warm and closely monitored. Flumazenil can be given consistently and slowly to help with any depression of the respiratory system.

Medications

With benzodiazepine poisoning, the function of the respiratory system and the central nervous system may decrease. The veterinarian will give medications to stabilize respiratory function and control the highly stimulated central nervous system.

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Worried about the cost of Benzodiazepines Poisoning treatment?

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Recovery of Benzodiazepines Poisoning in Dogs

Once your dog has been treated for benzodiazepines poisoning, the outlook for his recovery and prognosis are good. This depends on whether he positively responds to treatment. A severe evidence of benzodiazepines poisoning can be fatal; however, if your loved one was taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible and treated, he has a good chance of recovery.

Once your dog is home from the clinic, it is important to contact the veterinarian with any questions or concerns you may have in regards to any new symptoms or behavioral changes. Your physician will also give you specific instructions on how to care for your dog at home and will communicate with you what to watch for in terms of his recovery. The veterinarian will want to see him for follow-up visits and will check on his progress.

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Benzodiazepines Poisoning Average Cost

From 54 quotes ranging from $150 - $5,000

Average Cost

$400

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Benzodiazepines Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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West Highland White Terrier

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Three Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

None

My dog may have ingested 1mg of human klonopin. Showing no symptoms, what should I do?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I do not have access to to toxicity information on that medication for dogs. It would be best to contact a pet poison hotline, as they have extensive databases on human medications for dogs. They will be able to let you know, based on your dog's weight and the milligrams of medication, whether it is a problem. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Mix

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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19 found helpful

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19 found helpful

Has Symptoms

None

Our 50 pound mix breed ate 2mg's of ativan. Should we be worried

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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19 Recommendations

Hello, This medication can be given to dogs. It is not a common medication for them to take but is okay for them to have so I do not worry about toxicity. It can cause your dog to be sedated for a few hours. If she is acting this way, your local vet or emergency clinic should have a reversal medication that they can give to help.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Benzodiazepines Poisoning Average Cost

From 54 quotes ranging from $150 - $5,000

Average Cost

$400

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