British Columbia

Naloxone revives Saanich, B.C. dog after suspected overdose

At first, veterinarian Helen Rae thought the pug brought in to her clinic with wobbly legs had eaten some marijuana.

Vet says she's treated 2 dogs with suspected opioid or narcotic overdoses

Chica lost coordination and became unresponsive after a walk in Saanich's Mount Douglas Park. (CHEK News)

At first, veterinarian Helen Rae thought the small dog in her Saanich, B.C. clinic had eaten some marijuana.

"When she first came in, she was a little wobbly," Rae said.

But as Chica the pug slipped into a semi-comatose state Rae quickly revised her diagnosis.

She realized she was seeing a probable opioid or narcotic overdose. She quickly gave Chica a small injection of naloxone, the antidote used to prevent human drug deaths.

"There's not a lot else that looks like that, that will make a dog go that flat out without other symptoms," Rae told CHEK News reporter April Lawrence.

The unresponsive dog responded to the first injection by raising her head and looking around.

When she injected a second dose of naloxone, Rae said. "That got her to the point where she could sit up and was more herself."

Charlene Anderson, shown with Chica and co-owner Chris Ridley, said the dog has a habit of eating objects it finds on the ground. (CHEK News)

Rae said it is not possible to determine exactly what drug the dog ate, but its reaction to naloxone tells her that it did ingest some kind of narcotic or opioid drug.

Chica's owner Charlene Anderson said she was walking the dog in Saanich's Mount Douglas Park just before it became ill.

'A bad habit of hoovering up everything'

"Chica has a bad habit of hoovering up everything," Anderson said. "I just saw her eating all the things off the ground that she always eats."

Rae said the veterinary clinic keeps the opioid antidote on hand in case a pet has a reaction during legitimate treatment with the drugs.

Veterinarian Helen Rae said the risk of dogs inadvertently ingesting drugs is extremely low but she has treated two cases. (CHEK News)

The veterinarian said the risk of pets ingesting opioids is extremely low, but it is not the first case she's treated with naloxone.

Opioid overdose low risk for dogs

 "I had to use it once before in a toxicity case," she said. "It was a dog that had eaten some unsavoury items in Beacon Hill Park (in Victoria).

"It had been through a human, let's just say," Rae said.

With files from CHEK News