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Dr. Trush
Dr. Trush, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian who sees mostly dogs and cats. I also have experience with exotics.
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My dog injested suboxone what do I do He is a mini schnauzer

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My dog injested suboxone what do I do? He is a mini schnauzer and wheaten terrier mix and is approx 2 to 3 years old. I am prescribed 8mg suboxone. I had misplaced one pill earlier today and now hours later dog is wimpering and not active.
How much does he weigh?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
He weighs about 20 to 25 lbs.
Suboxone contains buprenorphine and noloxone. Buprenorphine is used as a pain medication in dogs and has a high index of safety. However, the dose your dog received is significantely higher than a normal dose. The most concerning problem would be respiratory depression.
Can you further describe his 'breathing irregular'? Can you count how many times he takes a breath in a minute (or in 15 seconds and multiply by 4)?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
In the 15 seconds he only let out 8 breaths. It seems when he breathes in its a shortened breath. Almost, like he is still tryin to catch his breath a little. Also, when breathing he jerks or has a spasm. Also, he just tried to eat but only took a couple bites of wet food.
A normal respiratory rate for a dog is between 18 and 34 breaths per minute. Your dog's rate is 32 breaths per minute right now which is within notmal limits. I would continue to monitor his breathing, if his breathing slows significantly, you may need to take him to an emergency veterinarian. The only treatment would be to give a reversal of the buprenorphine, such as naloxone but it takes a very large dose. Your medication, suboxone, already contains a small amount of the reversal. I would not be concerned about the wimpering and not wagging his tail. He is probably euphoric from the medication.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
One more thing, do you think just the one 8 mg pill could kill him or be anyway fatal to him?
The thing that would be fatal would be respiratory depression, which is why I wanted you to check his breathing. As long as he is breathing within a normal rate, it should not be a problem. I am sure he is anxious now because of the drug. One other thing is that he received the medication orally which has a slower absorption that if it were given directly into the vein (IV). If that dose were given IV, I would have recommended that he seek veterinary care to monitor breathing and potentially receive the reversal.
Continue to monitor him and if at any point you think he is having real trouble breathing and has a slow respiratory rate, you should take him in.
I hope this information was helpful. Do you have any other questions?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We thank you so much for your expertise. We love Tucker and was so worried about him, trying to figure out why he was acting so different. We will monitor his breathing, and have located the number for a 24 hour emergency vet, just in case. We just didn't know what to do....and you really helped us. We didn't know whether to search for a vet or not...and this was much faster and less costly as well.
You are welcome. You can also lift up his lip and make sure his gums are pink. But please monitor him since I cannot physically evaluate him, it is a bit difficult. If you think he is having breathing distress in anyway, please take him in.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Alright we will do that. 3 Questions more:
1) I just checked his gums. They are pink, but a lighter pink that usual I think. Is that bad?

2) How long do you think that this suboxone will stay in his system. Can we do anything to speed up the process?

3) A friend of mine fed him one malt ball from the halloween candy last week - it does have a small amount of chocolate covering it. I have heard that choclate can be fatal for dogs...but would one cause illness?

1) As long as they are pink it is okay. Bad colors would be blue/purple, white, or a muddy color.
2) The effects may last about 8 hours. There isn't anything you can do at home to speed up the process, it will just have to be metabolized by his body.
3) Chocolate can be toxic in dogs. One malt ball for your size dog would only cause stomach upset or diarrhea if anything. Bakers chocolate is much more toxic to dogs than milk chocolate. If your dog does ingest chocolate in the future, call your vet and tell them what kind of chocolate, how much he ate, and how much he weighs, they will be able to tell you with that information if it is a toxic dose or not.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We don't know what time he ate it, but we know he started acting strange six hours he should be coming out of it pretty soon.

When I watch his breathing while he upright, I can see a jerky type of movement on his side with each breath.

We will continue to watch his breathing, and won't worry about the whimpering. He probably doesn't know what is going on. I am glad he is not in pain like I thought.
He is not in any physical pain however, he may be anxious. I am not sure what to think of the jerky movement with each breath. Do you think he is getting worse, better, or the same since this started? How long has the jerky movement been going on?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I know we are anxious. His eyes kind of dart around a bit. He seems like he can't really relax, but he is mostly laying down. The tremoring/jerkiness is not severe but noticeable. Noticed it the last few hours. I would say that he has improved since we have been conversing with you.
It will probably just take some more time for the effects to wear off. I am glad to hear he is improving a bit. As long as his breathing is okay then he should be okay.

I hope I was able to provide the information you needed this evening. I hope he continues to improve and you can have a restful day tomorrow.
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