Understanding Amphetamine Poisoning

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Amphetamines are used to treat a range of health conditions including certain sleep disorders and ADHD. Amphetamines can also be prescribed to support weight loss and are a commonly sold street drug. Ingesting even a small quantity of amphetamine can cause poisoning in your dog, which can be fatal if treatment isn't received quickly. Amphetamine poisoning in dogs tends to occur when medication is left in reach of the dog or dropped on the floor. Dogs can be surprisingly good at rummaging through handbags and cupboards and cracking plastic medication bottles open with their teeth, so it's important that all prescription and over-the-counter medication is kept securely out of their reach. Read on to learn about the symptoms of amphetamine poisoning in dogs and how it's treated.

Symptoms Of Amphetamine Poisoning

Early symptoms of amphetamine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling, panting and dilated pupils. Your dog may also become agitated, which may present as aggression, and they may seem sedate and lethargic. Without prompt treatment, your dog's heart rate will increase and they may experience seizures and muscle tremors. Additionally, if a significant amount of amphetamine was ingested or treatment is delayed, your dog's organs can begin to shut down.

Treating Amphetamine Poisoning

To diagnose amphetamine poisoning, your vet will record your dog's symptoms and test a sample of their urine or blood for the presence of the drug. If you know that your dog has ingested amphetamines, tell your vet right away and take the medication packet with you to the veterinary surgery. This can help speed up the treatment process and ensure your dog gets the right treatment.

Your dog will require inpatient care during treatment and for a couple of days after treatment is administered to ensure they are recovering well and there's no lasting damage to their organs. Treatment may include the use of drugs to induce vomiting, which can be particularly effective when administered soon after your dog has ingested amphetamines. Your vet may use activated charcoal, which binds to the toxins in your dog's gastrointestinal tract and carries them out of your dog's body when they open their bowels. Alternatively, gastric lavage may be necessary. For this procedure, a vet will insert a thin tube into your dog's stomach and flush out any toxins with a saline solution. Intravenous fluids may also be administered to increase urination and dilute the concentration of amphetamines in your dog's body.

Amphetamine poisoning should be treated as an emergency and you should expect your dog to stay at the veterinary hospital for at least a couple of days to ensure there's no lasting damage to their organs. When you take your dog home, they will require a quiet environment to allow them to rest and fully recover.

If you suspect your dog has ingested amphetamines, take them to a veterinary hospital.

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