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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  12 years of experience with domestic and exotic dogs, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
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Hello. I noticed that two years ago you answered a question

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Hello. I noticed that two years ago you answered a question regarding a puppy and a buprenorphine overdose. I have an 8 week old toy poodle. He weighs about 2.5 lbs. I take buprenorphine sublingually, 16mg (2x 8mg tabs) at a time per day. I took my dose about 45 minutes ago and while the medicine was dissolved in my mouth, my puppy came up and gave me a big slobbery kiss on the lips. I kept my mouth closed, but since the dose is so high compared to what is normally given to dogs, and especially because he is so small, I am worried that he may have absorbed some. I am a first time pet owner and a bit of a worrier/hypochondriac, fyi. He was acting very lethargic recently and kept falling asleep, but I did take him for a very long walk and lots of play outside a few hours ago. Now he is awake and alert and playing with his chew toy. Should I be concerned at all? What about handling the tablets and then having him lick my fingers? Thank you.

Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.

So just to be clear when you had the medicine in your mouth he came and gave you a kiss or 45min later?

Was he falling asleep and lethargic after he gave you a kiss or before?

Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I had the medicine in my mouth when he gave me the kiss. Normally I let it absorb for about 15 mins after it dissolves. He was acting very lethargic about 10-20 mins after, but then I woke him and got him to chew on his toy. He was awake and alert for about 15 minutes and now he just fell asleep. It has been a very busy day for him, although he took a long nap from about 11 am to 4 pm

Thanks for the information. It is very VERY unlikely that giving you a kiss with your mouth closed will transfer any buprenorphine to your dog and certainly not an overdose. When we give dogs buprenorphine orally we usually have to give a minimum of 2x the dose rather than injecting it so they don't absorb it as well orally as other methods. Also the buprenorphine will take about 30-45 min to start affecting his system. I would suspect his lethargy is due more to his long day than the buprenorphine. The best way to tell is when you woke him up he was ALERT. That is key. If he is having too much buprenorphine he will be groggy or unresponsive. That is the second reason I don't think the buprenorphine is a problem.

As for your fingers, if you wash your fingers after handling the buprenorphine you will protect him from the drug.

I hope this helps, if not please feel free to ask more questions.
Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, I think so too. Thanks. It's just every little thing gets me so worried. I have only had him a week and we have bonded really well. For example, we were playing on the couch and he kept jumping up for his toy and then he jumped and fell to the wood floor. I think he fell on his back, I'm not sure if he hit his head or not, but he yelped in pain for a few seconds while darting across the room like a speeding bullet. I picked him up and held him and felt his skull and bones and he seemed fine, but I still worried for three days straight. This whole situation is like being a new parent. So are you saying that it's potentially unsafe for him to lick my fingers after I handle the buprenorphine tabs? One more question. His nails are getting a little long and sharp. Should I attempt to cut or file them, or should I wait until he goes to the groomer? thanks!

I'm not exactly saying it's unsafe for him to lick your fingers. I would find it hard to believe that he can get a dose from the residue on your fingers... however just washing them removes all questions about that, wash it off and you don't need to worry, if you forget to wash your hands, I don't think there is a risk.

As for nail trims, go ahead there is no reason you can't here is a good website giving you guidance:

Dr. Dan
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