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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 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 needed are radiographs (x-rays) of the chest and abdomen, CT scan to rule out head injury, 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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

Twelve Years

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

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.

yesterday

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

Six Years

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

Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Shivering, Won'T Drink, Will Eat A Little,.

I think my chihuahua ingested my suboxone strip

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It would be best to take your dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible, as it sounds like she needs some help. They will be able to assess her and see what therapy she might need. I hope that she is okay.

yesterday

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Lab mix

dog-age-icon

10 months

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

Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling

I’m not sure how much it was an a lot but he’s drooling

Aug. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, If your dog did get into an opioid and is showing signs, it would be best to see your vet. They can easily treat an opioid overdose. This cannot be easily treated at home. Good Luck

Aug. 30, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua terrier

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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

Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shivering Crying

My dog licked a suboxone tablet. He is whining and shaking.

July 27, 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 know what that medication is, and I'm not familiar with it. It would be best to either call your veterinarian, an emergency clinic in your neighborhood, or a pet poison hotline and give them more details on what that medication is, how much your dog weighs, and how much we think that your dog ate. The signs you are describing may or may not be related, and if they do not get better and your dog is not feeling better, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that all goes well.

July 27, 2020

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Mack

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Australian Shepherd

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22 Months

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

My 20 month old Aussie went in for a xray on for his hip. They gave him hydrocodone 2.58ML. When we brought him home his tongue was turning blue and out to the side, labored breathing. I called the Vet and they said it was a strong dose and common for this and maybe he bit his tongue. 3 weeks later he had 4 Grand-Mal Seizures in 1 day. Something is not right. $5000 later I'm not convinced he didn't have a reaction from the hydrocodone. I spoke to Supervisor Vet and was told well we know now not to give him that much. I'm really not ok.

July 18, 2018

Mack's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm not sure what your question is that I might be able to help you with, but I am sorry that is happening to Mack. Common side effects from that medication include sedation and decreased rate of breathing. One course of action that you may have is to contact the licensing board for veterinarians in your area, as every veterinarian is governed by a board, and any client can report a potential problem for investigation.

July 18, 2018

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valentina

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poddle mix

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hyperactivity
Dehydrated
Fast Heart Rate
Heavey Breatheing

I have a very small poodle and believe some how got into herion im not a 100% sure but i have a feeling thats what it is shes acting very strange and im scared tis is fatal can anyone help me ? I'm very worried

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Miss Lilly

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Jack Russell Terrier

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9 Years

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

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Staggering
Wandering
Disoriented
Collapsing

My 9-year-old small terrier who is on low dose seizure meds (Kbr) had to have an ultrasound and the sedative used was butorphenol. Previously she was typical high energy very smart Jack Russell, very active and athletic. Brought her home from vet after the ultrasound (which vet said was "unremarkable") and 24 hours later she is wandering, collapsing, "stuck in corners" as though she's gone neuro, staggering, walking like drunk, can't stay on feet, seems out of it. I called the vet and they basically blew it off and said it takes a "while" for the butorphenol to "wear off." All I have read indicates butorphenol is fast acting/fast resolving. My dog has not had another seizure but I am concerned that she is now mentally and physically gone away into some horrible phase she won't recover from. Vet was very dismissive about the whole thing. I live in a small town and all the vets talk to each other. I don't know where to turn. Terrified I am losing my dog! BTW the ultrasound cost over $600 and all I've got to show for it is a dog who appears to be dying. Please help with good information as I'm not getting that from my vet.

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Sparky

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Whining
Foaming At The Mouth

My 2 month old Chihuahua, named Sparky, 1ingested less than half of a 10mg methadone pill, we pulled it from her mouth and it was barely dissolved. She started whining and began foaming from the mouth. She also became lethargic. Took her to 24hr pet emergency hospital. Still here, still waiting, I was wondering if this could be fatal for her and what possible side effects could she have. KShe weighs 1.4kg

Opioids and Opiates Poisoning Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,800

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