Animal Abuse Case: Dog Ingests Methamphetamine

PetMD Editorial
Published: July 14, 2016
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A dog named Jack Sparrow is lucky to be alive after ingesting methamphetamine. According to a press release from the Fontana Police Department in Fontana, California, regarding this animal cruelty case, the Chihuahua was brought to the Inland Valley Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center in Upland, California, for "erratic behavior." 

The dog's owner, who has since been arrested, told authorities that his pet may have come in contact with methamphetamine. After being tested by veterinarians, the dog did test positive for the drug. 

Jack's life was in grave danger. He was experiencing the effects from methamphetamine, including convulsions and seizures, and was treated in emergency care. 

The dog—who is currently being rehabilitated until he can go into foster care—"is hyper sensitive to noise and sudden movement, but he is expected to recover in time," according to the press release.

Dr. Tina Wismer, DVM, and the medical director of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center, explains to petMD that methamphetamine is a general neurologic and cardiovascular stimulant. The side effects of the drug in a dog include agitation, high heart rates, high blood pressure, tremors, seizures, and a rise in body temperature. There is also a great risk of death. 

While there's no evidence that dogs experience symptoms of withdrawal or cravings after ingesting the drug, Wismer says, it still presents a dangerous situation. "Our biggest concern is as their body temperature gets higher," says Wismer. "That could cause prolonged seizures and brain damage." Raised body temperature can also cause liver damage, strokes, or blindness in dogs. 

But it's not just illegal methamphetamines pet parents need to worry about. "There are a lot of drugs related to methamphetamine—for instance, ADHD medication," Wismer explains. That's why it's important for pet owners to keep all prescription drugs out of reach of pets at all times.

If a dog does ingest methamphetamine, Wismer urges that the pet must be taken in for immediate veterinary care. Emergency vets will likely give the dog medication to decrease agitation and blood pressure, says Wismer. 

Though cases of dogs ingesting methamphetamine are relatively low, it's still something that pet parents need to be very aware of. "It's a serious problem," says Wismer. 

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