How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask VetTechErin Your Own Question
VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
Type Your Dog Question Here...
VetTechErin is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am concerned my 2 year old west (18 pounds) may have eaten

Customer Question

I am concerned my 2 year old west (18 pounds) may have eaten 1 or 2 immediate release dextroamphetamine tablets - 10 mg each
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with your question about your dog.
Any dose of amphetamines in dogs can cause pretty significant signs. Even small doses can cause agitation, restlessness, changes in heart rate, increases in body temperature, tremors, and seizures.
Typically, we can see signs within 4 hours of ingestion with prompt-release tablets. Due to how quickly they are absorbed, inducing vomiting is not indicated at home. Making a dog vomit with peroxide at home after amphetamine ingestion has the potential to spontaneously bring on a seizure, as well as due to the fact that signs come on pretty rapidly, there's a higher risk of a dog inhaling while vomiting and causing a pneumonia.
If we know for sure that a dog has ingested pills on the floor, we get them straight into a vet clinic for treatment. The vet can manage and control signs if they occur.
If you dropped a couple of pills and are not certain, you could try confining them to a bathroom, kennel, or other area where you know the pills were not located, but where you can very easily monitor them. Then get a vacuum with attachment, and after making sure the lint trap is clean, vacuum the area VERY thoroughly to see if the pills turn up. If either of them start to show any signs of agitation, restlessness, anxiety, or other behavioral changes, they will need to get into the emergency clinic right away. Prompt treatment of signs will help to ensure that the signs do not become life-threatening.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please hit "reply" to get back with me!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have not seen any signs yet. Do symptoms come on abruptly at around 4 hours or do they increase gradually 2, 3 hours after digestion. it has been about 3 hours and they are all napping now. i took them to the park for a walk (i have 3 dogs with one i thought might have been most likely to have ingested it) and their behavior was normal. It will be bedtime at the four hour mark - should i wait up with them to monitor, or is it okay to assume that if they are still sleepy at that time they are okay? I am fine to wait up longer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i assume the risk is greater with 20 mg given their smaller size, would that impact the timing of the onset of symptoms?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i am watching one of my males who is sleeping. his breathing seems rapid. it is about twice of one the other dogs also sleeping. if the behavior was off with any of them at the park it was with him. but it was subtle enough that i attributed it to my keen attention; seeing more than i normally would.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
The tend to increase gradually. Usually the first thing we see is signs of agitation, hyperactivity, restlessness, disorientation, and then we start to have the internal signs that aren't as easy to distinguish.
Due to the life-threatening nature of the amphetamines, I would stay up with them for at least 6 hours to give a nice wide margin of time before letting them sleep unsupervised. If they're sleepy at the moment, you can wake them up to check on them every 30-45 minutes to make sure everyone's doing okay.
If they don't show any signs and aren't likely to have ingested the pills this evening, make sure you find them before you let them up! Small pills like that can get stuck under baseboards, and you may need to vacuum corners until they get sucked up. We don't want them to lick up the lost pills at some point when you are out of the house.
Since we're sure these are instant release, the six hour window should be fine. It is the long-acting release that can delay signs up to 12 hours.
The dose should not necessarily impact the onset of signs, but it would definitely affect the severity of signs. Multiple pills can also have a risk risk of affecting multiple dogs if they shared them, so even if one is more likely to have ingested them, make sure that if someone DOES start to show signs that you take everyone in to the clinic with you. Sometimes it can take longer for one dog to start to show signs than another dog, and even if they aren't treated, bringing them in the car with you will allow you to continue to monitor the other two while the one showing signs is treated.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
I would wake the one with rapid breathing and get him moving around and alert. See if he is agitated, stumbling when he walks, or is showing any other signs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank you, ***** ***** wait. what do i look for if i wake them. presumably they are not restless, agitated, etc. u did not mention breathing rate but that is what i am noticing now with Willie. he does not feel warm to the touch, is there a spot to check his temperature compared to the others? I want to make sure i am clear on what i am looking for
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i count 78 inhale / exhale cycles a minute
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the 2 year old female is breathing at 30 inhale / exhale cycles per minute and they appear to be deeper. the male i am concerned about is 9 years old.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
We tend to see a hike in their temperature more after they start to shake, tremble, and tremor. What happens is much like what happens with us when we exercise. Only, since their muscles shake uncontrollably, they quickly become overheated. This is called "hyperthermia". You can take their temperature rectally if you have a digital thermometer at home. Anything over 102.5 degrees is higher than normal.
Amphetamines stimulate their nervous systems, so a hike in respiratory rate could certainly be an indication of stimulation, even it's not something that is as easily noticeable as some of the other signs we see.
A total list of every sign we could see (but don't always see) is as follows. Keep in mind that some of these can be really hard to diagnose at home, so some of these may not be as easily recognizable: Agitation and restlessness, hyperactivity, disorientation, aggression, crying, increases in temperature, increases in heart rate (greater than 160 beats per minute), increases in breathing rate (over 35 breaths per minute), ataxia (stumbling like they are drunk), head bobbing, electrolyte imbalances, acidosis, hyperglycemia (increases in blood sugar), muscle twitching, muscle shaking (tremors), and seizures.
If you get them up and alert and they seem normal, you can try counting the number of times their hearts are beating per 15 seconds, then multiply that number by 4. If it is over 160, I would go ahead and get them into the clinic for evaluation, even if they are not showing any behavioral changes. The same thing goes for if they are confused, bobbing their heads, stumbling around, whining, anxious, or if the faster breathing progressed to heavy panting when they are roused.
So long as they aren't showing any signs within that six hours window, then you can continue to keep them at home tonight.
In regards ***** ***** respiratory rates, the male is definitely higher than we'd like to see him. Can you find a heart rate on him? You can try feeling on his chest if he'll hold still for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i averaged his breathing over several intervals - seems to be 48 to 54 per minute. i'll try to take measure his heart rate.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** able to get a good read on it, you can post it here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I counted 20 heart beats per 15 seconds over two intervals. behaviorally he is more immediately alert when i make a sound then he normally would be. i also made a better measurement of his breathing (using a stop watch) it is 52 cycles per minute
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
we are at about the 4 hour mark
he is more fidgety then usual. bit i am also watching much more closely than i normally would
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
So his heart rate is normal. His respirations are a little elevated. This is one of those situations where he's at a point where you could potentially be seeing some beginning signs, but the breathing could be unrelated. If you are nervous about it, I would get him into the clinic to have them monitor him and treat as signs crop up.
He's in the window of time where we do start to see signs, so he's on target, but you are right in that you're watching a bit closer than you normally would. If signs are starting, they should start to become more significant as time passes. He won't suddenly be in crisis without you seeing any further progression. You could potentially monitor him at home and see if things progress or improve, but this is only something I would do if you are within at 10-15 minutes drive of an emergency vet clinic. If you're far away, seeing an increase in respirations and some mild agitation would be enough to consider getting him in so he doesn't worsen and then have to drive an hour to get to the clinic.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i just took them out back where they all "furiously" hunt for regents at night. Willie seemed fine in terms of the coordination of his movements.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
That's a good sign! You might separate him from the others and keep him awake with you for a bit. If he remains calm in the next couple of hours, you were probably seeing something just due to the fact that you were watching him so closely.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi Wayne,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Kayla. How is everything going?