How to know if your dog has ingested a drug.

The dog’s owner is speaking out after the traumatic experience because she wants people to know it’s possible in Squamish.

Molly is on the mend, but it’s been a rough few days for the white Lab after she took methamphetamines on a late-night stroll around her home in downtown Squamish.

“We just took a very usual short walk downtown. And then, within an hour or two, I quickly realized something was up and very, very wrong. But of course I had no idea it was drugs,” said Lara Hinkson, Molly’s owner.

Molly is a therapy dog ​​who works with adults with developmental disabilities and is very easygoing by her training and nature, but became very restless when the couple returned from their walk.

“She was super, super restless. She couldn’t sit down. Her eyes were super, super wide. And she was just foaming at the mouth.”

She was also drooling profusely and shaking her head, Hinkson added.

It was closing time for the local vets, but because two-year-old Molly was so ill, Hinkson didn’t feel able to drive alone down the dark highway to the nearest 24-hour vet, North Vancouver’s Mountainside Animal Hospital. There was one long night of waiting to seek help.

The next morning at the Sea to Sky Veterinary Clinic, tests showed Molly had taken the drug.

Like all Labs, Molly loves to sniff things and could have grabbed a quick bite to eat on the walk, so it’s unclear how exactly she was exposed to the meth, Hinkson said.

After a few days of rest, fluids, and veterinary care, she’s back home and doing fine, but it was a traumatizing event that shook Hinkson.

She speaks out publicly because she wants people to know that this is possible in Squamish. She also believes this points to the need for a 24-hour veterinary clinic in the city.

What to consider and what to do

vet dr. Jordie Schnarr cared for Molly at the Sea to Sky Veterinary Clinic.

Schnarr said it was the first methamphetamine she had seen in a dog in town, although she saw it while working in town.

She “frequently” sees other cases of drug toxicity around town, she said, particularly during the warmer months of the year when pets and people are more out and about.

What to look for in your pet, Schnarr said that like humans, pet reactions are highly individual and depend on many factors, including the type of medication, the dose, and the size of the dog.

“Just like in humans, when it comes to…THC versus opioids versus amphetamines, any drug toxicity will all manifest differently,” Schnarr said.

In general, however, a dog will begin to behave out of character.

For example, about 45 minutes after a walk, a dog may begin to sway and not walk normally.

When ingesting THC, the dog may suffer from urinary incontinence.

“Some of the drugs like opioids and amphetamines can actually be a bit constipating. Sometimes you see drooling or vomiting because our pets often get sick too. But usually neurological signs are what we notice most often. I’ll see,” she said.

Whatever medication it is, it’s important to get the pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, she said.

If it’s the middle of the night and one isn’t available in town, driving to the North Van veterinary clinic is probably the best idea, she said.

“Especially when it comes to opioid or methamphetamine toxicity, there’s a window of opportunity where we can intervene and hopefully be successful,” she said.

While ingesting THC is rarely fatal, it can be harsh on the dog, especially when found in butter or oil, as that can get stuck in their system.

However, depending on the dose, opioids and amphetamines are more serious situations.

Even a touch of fentanyl, for example, can be enough to harm a pooch.

“They can have seizures, they can fail in multiple organs,” Schnarr said, adding that she didn’t want to scare owners in town.

Dogs need to get outside, sniff, and live their lives, and with treatment, the prognosis for dogs like Molly who consume such a substance is often very good.

She said that ideally, Squamish will have more “sanctuaries” for dogs as it grows. Places safe only for them in the city.

And more washrooms for people who don’t have access to one would be helpful, she said, as she sees drugs in dogs’ systems when they’re exposed to the actual drug or eat human feces that contain it.

As for a 24-hour clinic, she said her clinic has extended hours to later in the day to accommodate more people and their family members.

While the community is not yet at the tipping point of establishing its own 24-hour clinic, it sees that as Squamish grows, that will become a reality in the future.

“I think not just every pet owner in Squamish but everyone in the veterinary industry is thinking of this because it’s certainly needed and it’s not just here in Squamish it’s the entire Sea to Sky.”

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