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What is Opioids and Opiates Poisoning?

There are many medications made from opium, both prescription and street drugs. Some of those are morphine, heroin, hydrocodone, codeine, and methadone. The cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems are all affected by opioids and opiates, slowing down breathing and heart rate. Opioid and opiate poisoning can occur from accidental ingestion of human medication and accidental overdose from giving the wrong dosage. The effects are seen within about 30 minutes, depending on the method of exposure and amount ingested. The most common cause of opioid or opiate poisoning is the oral ingestion of human medication, from pills or patches. The most common signs of toxicity are severe drowsiness, slow breathing and heart rate, seizures, and vomiting. If you believe your dog may have gotten a toxic dose of opioids or opiates, call your veterinarian immediately or go to the animal hospital, even if there are no symptoms yet.

Opioids and opiates are medications made from opium, which is a drug derived from the liquid (latex) inside of a poppy. These medications are used for pain relief in people and animals, blocking the pain signals from reaching the brain. Many veterinarians use opioids and opiates in the hospital for pain relief and sedation in dogs during and after medical procedures. Sometimes, the veterinarian will prescribe pain medication for your dog, but most do not use opiates or opioids for dogs unless under medical supervision. This is because, even small doses, opioids and opiates can be dangerous for your dog due to the extreme effect it has on the central nervous system. Your dog can become unconscious and stop breathing within minutes of ingestion, so veterinarians will only prescribe opioids and opiates for pain in extreme circumstances. It is also possible for your dog to be poisoned from getting into your pain medication, either oral or patch form, and this can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Opioids and Opiates Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Opioids and Opiates Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of opioid and opiate poisoning have similar symptoms but can vary depending on the animal. In some cases, these drugs can cause sleepiness, but in others, the same amount of the same drug may cause excitability. The most commonly reported signs of toxicity are:

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Coma
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Severe sedation
  • Slowed heart and breathing rate
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Walking as if drunk
  • Weakness

Less common symptoms are:

  • Extreme excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Respiratory arrest (not breathing)
  • Shaking uncontrollably
  • Sleepiness

 Types

  • Opioid poisoning is caused by overdose of a narcotic pain reliever that is at least partially man-made and not found in nature
  • Opiate poisoning results from ingestion of a large amount of a narcotic pain reliever made naturally from the opium sap of a poppy
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Causes of Opioids and Opiates Poisoning in Dogs

Many different medications and drugs can cause opioid or opiate poisoning, such as:

  • Atarax
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol
  • Codeine
  • Demerol
  • Dilaudid
  • Diphenoxylate
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Loperamide
  • Lortab
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Norco
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Pentazocine
  • Profadol
  • Propoxyphene
  • Tramadol
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Diagnosis of Opioids and Opiates Poisoning in Dogs

Your veterinarian will start by doing a complete physical of your dog, including eye, ear, and nose exam, reflexes, pulse and respiration rates, height, weight, body temperature, and blood pressure. Be prepared with your dog’s complete medical history, even if you are seeing your regular veterinarian. It saves time if the veterinarian does not have to go through paperwork to find out if your dog has had his shots and what recent illnesses and injuries he has had.

One of the first tests your veterinarian will likely perform is a complete blood count (CBC) to measure platelets, white, and red blood cells. Blood chemistry, liver enzyme function, and a toxicology screening will also be done. Some of the other tests that may be recommended are radiographs (x-rays) of the chest and abdomen and an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical and musculature activity of the heart.

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Treatment of Opioids and Opiates Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment depends on the amount of drugs ingested and your dog’s condition upon arrival. If your dog is in respiratory arrest, the veterinarian will begin oxygen therapy and place a nasal cannula in your dog’s nose to administer oxygen continuously. IV fluids and medication will be started to treat whatever symptoms your dog is experiencing. To counteract the opioid or opiate, a drug called naloxone will be given to block the narcotic effects. The veterinarian will also prescribe an anti-anxiety medication and medicine to stop seizures if needed. They will most likely keep your dog overnight for observation to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.

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Recovery of Opioids and Opiates Poisoning in Dogs

Once your dog is released to go home, the veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medication for a few days to give as needed to keep your dog relaxed. It is important for his recovery to get rest and not be agitated. Be sure to follow up with the veterinarian as needed and call if you have any questions or concerns. Keep all medications out of the reach of your dog to prevent this from happening again.

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Opioids and Opiates Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Opioids and Opiates Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chihuahua

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Eighteen Months

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Unknown severity

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13 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lathargic, Foaming At Mouth ,Acting Different

What can i do she may have got into drugs

Dec. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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13 Recommendations

She needs to see a vet immediately as she is already showing signs. The vet can induce vomiting and start her on activated charcoal. They can also run blood tests to determine exactly what is going on. Time is of the essence here and hopefully all will be well if we get her seen promptly.

Dec. 24, 2020

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

my dog just ate 1 of my opioid tablet's..what do i do please

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without knowing how big your dog is, what type of opioid or strength that he ate or any other information, I cannot say if it is a problem or not. It would be best to call either a pet poison hotline and give them that information, or a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic. With those numbers, they can let you know if you have anything to be worried about. I hope that all goes well.

Sept. 30, 2020

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Opioids and Opiates Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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