The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Three Dogs in Florida Were Rushed to an Emergency Veterinarian After Ingesting Fentanyl

Friday, July 14, 2017

Three Dogs in Florida Were Rushed to an Emergency Veterinarian After Ingesting Fentanyl

While K-9 officers use their noses to sniff out drugs, the opioid epidemic has put our police dogs in deadly jeopardy.

Three dogs in Florida were rushed to an emergency veterinarian hospital last year when they were with their handlers during a drug raid and ingested fentanyl – an extremely potent drug used as a painkiller often mixed with heroin and twice as potent.

In response to the dangerous epidemic, law enforcement officers now carry naloxone with them just in case; as they send the police dogs into homes and cars searching for narcotics. The drug naloxone has been used for years to reverse overdoses in humans.

In January, the Massachusetts State Police started carrying naloxone for their dogs, and according to CbsNews, police in Hartford, Connecticut also includes handlers to carry the drug for their dogs – just in case.

As human officers have reported becoming very ill from a small amount of fentanyl after being in close contact with suspects – just patting them down and getting the white powder on their hands, reactions can be even more severe for K-9 personnel.

With dogs, their primary sense is smell, and they literally breathe and inhale the opioids, so to protect their four-legged partners, police officers now carry the naloxone kits which blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdoses with few side effects.

Previously naloxone had most often been used by doctors, medics and emergency medical personnel – now police, firefighters and families with members suffering from addiction carry the kits; naloxone can be administered through injection or via a nasal spray.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, deputy administrator Jack Riley has warned police officers of the dangers of fentanyl to both humans and dogs:
“Fentanyl can kill our canine companions and partners just as easy as it can humans, so please take precautions for their safety too,” Riley warned.

In Broward County, Florida, a police K-9 officer named Primus became lethargic after a drug search. He and two other dogs were rushed to an emergency veterinarian where the dogs were all treated with naloxone – all three recovered quickly.

It is believed they may have inhaled a trace amount of fentanyl (the same drug that killed Prince) and that the drug even may have been absorbed into their bodies through their paws. Experts believe for a dog just two or three granules like sand would be enough to overdose a dog.

Officers are being much more prudent now before sending dogs into a home or building known where drugs are overtly observed. Sadly the drug epidemic has become so critical in the United States, even our dogs’ lives are at risk.

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