B.C. vet saves seven-week-old puppy from fentanyl overdose
Published Friday, June 23, 2017 6:35AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 23, 2017 9:22AM EDT
As B.C.'s overdose crisis continues to set deadly records, a veterinarian is sharing a story of how the fentanyl crisis is affecting pets.
A seven-week-old Shih Tzu was taken to a Maple Ridge animal hospital one week ago, unresponsive and seemingly unwell.
Staff at the Dewdney Animal Hospital say they struggled to figure out what was affecting the pooch, running tests for hypoglycemia -- a common condition amongst puppies.
"We were probably about 15 seconds away from the heart completely stopping," said Dr. Adrian Walton, adding that the small dog's heart beat had dropped to 20 beats a minute.
Walton says the owner's honesty helped save his pet. When asked if there was a chance the dog had somehow come in to contact with drugs, the owner freely admitted the animal had come in contact with fentanyl.
"Most people lie to us when it comes to drugs and this owner was forthright," Walton said. "If he hadn't, we would have lost this dog."
Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller that has led to 575 deaths across Vancouver in 2016. Across the country, Canada saw an estimated 2,500 opioid-related deaths in 2016.
Dr. Walton says the dog was administered a double dose of naloxone, the same drug used on humans to reverse the effects of fentanyl.
"We gave the injection and we had a brand new puppy," he said.
Staff at the veterinary clinic nicknamed the dog Wallace – a nod to Uma Thurman's character "Mia Wallace" in the 1994 hit film "Pulp Fiction," who was revived after a drug overdose.
The puppy recuperated with Dr. Walton's family for a week after its overdose fright. The B.C. SPCA is allowing the animal to return to its owner.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst and files from the Canadian Press