This little dog presented to our clinic this morning for walking in circles for the last few hours and for acting off. There was no history of the dog getting into anything. Initially, we thought he might have an inner ear infection and that could be causing him to walk in circles. But, he was not circling in one direction consistently and his ear canals appeared normal. On further examination, he was quite hypersensitive (over reactive) to stimuli, his pupils were very dilated with a weak response to light, he did not have a head tilt, his facial symmetry was normal, he had a high normal temperature, and his heart rate was very elevated. I was pretty suspicious that the dog may have ingested drugs so we took a urine sample and ran a urine drug test. It was positive for AMPHETAMINES AND METHAMPHETAMINES (see test). Since the dog was already symptomatic, inducing vomiting would not be beneficial in this case. We hooked the dog up to IV fluids and started an intralipid treatment IV. Intralipid emulsion is useful in overdoses and toxin ingestions to reduce the amount of drug/toxin that is absorbed. We gave him some sedation to help with the neurologic signs and monitored his clinical signs for improvement. He is doing significantly better so far! This afternoon he was beginning to act neurologically normal (see second video) and his temperature and heart rate normalized. We will continue to monitor for improvement overnight tonight and hopefully he will go to Saving Grace Animal Society tomorrow.
WHAT DO AMPHETAMINES CAUSE? Amphetamines are a central nervous system stimulant so they will cause restlessness, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, muscle tremors, elevated blood pressure, increased temperature and/or seizures. It can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. If a very large dose is ingested, it can cause sedation, drooling, seizures, and/or death.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT? If recent ingestion, we will make the pet vomit to get rid of the toxin. If the dog is showing clinical signs, then we need to ‘flush’ the body of the toxins with IV fluids and treat the clinical signs. Treating the clinical signs can involve cooling the pet, stopping seizures, controlling the nervous system signs with sedation, managing nausea and vomiting, treating heart arrhythmias, etc. Monitoring bloodwork/acid base status is
key too to monitor for secondary complications.
WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS? Good with prompt and aggressive treatment.
UPDATE: he did great and was adopted out to a loving family :)