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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16309
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 15 month old black lab chewed open a bottle of Acyclovir.

Customer Question

My 15 month old black lab chewed open a bottle of Acyclovir. He had several in his mouth as you can tell they were wet. He may have ingested 1 as we aren't certain the number left. He is under 60 lbs. Do we need to take him in? I called the emergency vet and they said to call poison control.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your fellow may have ingested an Acyclovir tablet.

What milligram size was the tablet?

How long ago did he ingest it? (less than or more than 2 hours ago?)

A one time ingestion in a bigger dog may not lead to toxicity but this drug can be toxic if he has ingested above the threshiold amount.

The most common signs of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Signs usually develop within 3 hours of ingestion. Acyclovir can cause kidney damage and suppress the bone marrow as well as cause esophageal and stomach lining damage.

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administration of activated charcoal, pushing fluids, and supportive care.

If your pup has ingested more than 10mgs per kilogram (2.2 pounds of body weight) we may see signs of toxicity.

At 60 pounds he is 27kgs, so if he ingested more than 270mgs we should induce vomiting if it has been less than 2 hours.

You can give him 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide soaked up with bread chunks or a small amount of food.

Then take him outside and run him around to get the peroxide bubbling so he vomits.

If no vomiting in 10 minutes repeat the peroxide dose once.

If he vomits and seems to clear his stomach and be done I would check to see if most or all of the pill is present.

I'll be back with more information, but I wanted you to have this to start.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

If it has been more than 2-3 hours since ingestion it is too late to induce vomiting.

At that point you can give activated charcoal at a dose of 1GRAM (not milligram) per pound of body weight per day.

That will decrease absorption of the drug.

At doses greater that 20mgs per kilogram (540mgs in your pup's case) we do need to worry about kidney damage. But lower doses are most likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects (loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea).

To try and decrease signs of stomach upset you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20-40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours (2 of the 10mg tabs for your pup)


2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one 20mg tablet per 40 to 80 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and should help him feel less nauseous. They are quite safe and should be used for several days if needed.

Then to decrease the symptoms of stomach upset you can feed a bland diet for the next couple of days. A homemade bland diet is a mix of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or lean boiled hamburger and 2/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow. Feed small meals frequently.

If your pup ingested more than 500mgs and it has been more than 2 hours I highly recommend he be hospitalized and put on intravenous fluids to support his kidneys, and injectable drugs to protect his gastrointestinal tract.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.