Mia got up to some mischief one evening while her owners were out for a short while. She decided to dig deep into a cupboard and found some human anti-inflammatory medication called naproxen, despite it being very well out of reach.
When her parents got home, they found the evidence of the shredded wrapper and crumbled pieces of the tablets. It was possible that Mia may have eaten a small piece or up to a half of a tablet. Mia's mum was very worried and so she phoned the animal emergency centre for advice. Since Mia may have eaten something she shouldn't within a recent time-frame and it was in the form of a tablet, the advice was to make Mia vomit using household salt, which was carried out successfully. (Please note that this is not suitable in all situations, so contact your vet or pet emergency centre for advice if you are ever concerned about possible poisoning).
Mia came to us the next morning for a check over. She weighed in at 4.5kg which is the healthy size for her breed but many, many times less than that of the average human! After some research, our vet worked out that Mia could possibly have eaten a very toxic dose of this medicine. She could have eaten 15 times what would be considered a 'safe' dose for a dog! At high doses in our patients, this type of medicine can cause damage to many parts of the body, including the lining of the stomach and intestines, the kidneys, liver and even affecting normal blood clotting.
Naproxen is not used to treat dogs due to its strength and unwanted side-effects, as can be the case with many other human medicines. It is also true that lots of medicines are used to treat both people and animals, however we always have to calculate a special dose rate for out four-legged patients, so it is advised never to give anything from the medicine cupboard to your pet, unless under the direction of a vet.
Even though Mia was not showing any obvious signs of poisoning when she came for her visit, except for being a little nervous on the examination table, it was necessary to investigate whether there were any changes or damage happening around her body. This was carried out performing urine and blood tests. Mia's urine was reading as more dilute than is expected. This can be attributed to a few different reasons, but it can indicate problems with kidney function. In order to be on the safe side, Mia was hospitalised on an intravenous drip in order to keep the kidneys flushing through well.
Naproxen has a very long 'half-life' - this is the term to describe how long it takes for a substance to be cleared out of the body. Since Mia may have eaten a large dose relative to her little size, it would take about 10 days for the medicine to reduce down to safe levels and eventually clear from body. Mia was required to take medications for a period after her visit in order to protect her stomach and intestines from any ongoing damage. This included different types of medication to help reduce stomach acid, to keep the lining of the stomach healthy and help in the production of new stomach lining cells.
Thankfully Mia's blood results and subsequent urine tests did not show any unwanted changes, so Mia went home the next day. Mia has been back to herself and hopefully keeping her nose out of mischief!