The USA is the midst of an opioid crisis – large numbers of people are misusing and becoming addicted to opioids, which can include heroin, prescription pain medications and fentanyl (a synthetic). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that an average of 91 Americans die each day due to opioid overdose.
Veterinarians treating companion animals have to be aware of the symptoms of opioid overdose because, unfortunately, there are cases of accidental ingestion. Sometimes the pet owners are unwilling to admit that their pet may have eaten opioid drugs, which of course is admission that they may be an addict themselves.
Drugs are, of course, big business and it’s up to law enforcement to help catch dealers who are making and selling the drugs. Police dogs and detection dogs are part of that fight and they are often exposed to opioids in the course of detection work.
This video is for veterinarians and dog handlers to understand how to catch the signs of an opioid overdose in a dog and the treatment with reversal drugs like Narcan which are needed to save them.
and this is some of the news coverage about police dog handlers carrying reversal kits along with other first aid supplies.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
Last week, a Georgia man named Michael Hammons spotted a Yorkie-type dog inside a hot car parked at a Athens, Georgia shopping mall. He broke the window to rescue the dog.
When the dog’s owner returned, she was angry that he had damaged her vehicle and insisted that police charge him. His and the dog’s story have gone viral in what I consider a welcome debate about animal welfare and the rights of individuals who step in to intervene.
It seems that Georgia isn’t one of the 16 US states that prohibits leaving animals in cars in unsafe conditions. Advocates are now using this latest situation as evidence as to why the law needs changing.
Last year, I saw a couple leave their dog parked in the full sun at a local shopping mall with a large breed Lab cross in the back seat. I phoned the police on 111 (New Zealand’s version of 911) and then waited by the car until they arrived. I monitored the dog closely to see if he was showing signs of heat stress.
The police, followed by the SPCA, responded to my call quite quickly and the policeman took my details should I be needed as a witness. And then he encouraged me to leave the scene since they would take care of the situation and wait for the people to come back to speak with them.
Have you ever helped rescue a dog from a hot car? How were you treated?
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand