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The opioid crisis and working dogs – Presented by C. Otto, DVM, PhD, DAVCECC

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The opioid crisis and working dogs

The opioid epidemic has resulted in an increase in availability of potent synthetic opioids and risk of death due to overdose or inadvertent exposure. Despite concern for the health of the canine, data on how to treat dogs with opioid exposure has been limited. In a crossover design evaluating intranasal vs intramuscular naloxone reversal of fentanyl sedation, the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and impact on olfaction and first responder exposure were evaluated in 10 detection dogs. Following fentanyl sedation, the response is highly variable and ranges from excitement to complete sedation. The safety and efficacy of naloxone was independent of route of delivery, with all dogs responding within a minute. If a dog has been exposed to powdered fentanyl it is likely that the fur will be contaminated and poses a potential risk to handlers and first responders.

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