IRVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — An eight-week-old puppy is “in good spirits” after police in Irvine, California, had to give it an overdose-reversing drug for possible fentanyl exposure.
Video showed the moment the pit bull puppy was rescued by police, who had already arrested the dog’s owners for possession of narcotics found inside their vehicle that was parked outside a Walmart earlier this month.
After transporting the suspects to the police station, the puppy began exhibiting signs of opioid overdose, police said.
“As the couple was being booked, it became obvious the puppy was in distress,” Sgt. Karie Davies with Irvine Police Department told News 2’s sister station, KTLA. “She was panting very rapidly, she was lethargic, her tongue was hanging out of her mouth, her eyes kept closing.”
Thinking quickly, officers, who believe the pup may have ingested some loose fentanyl from inside the vehicle, administered Narcan to the dog.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid overdose treatment that can rapidly reduce overdosing effects. It can be given as a nasal spray or it can be injected into the muscle, under the skin, or into the veins.
Veterinarians told KTLA that using Narcan on animals is not a new procedure, with many vets successfully saving dogs’ lives with the overdose treatment.
The Irvine officers didn’t know whether Narcan would be successful on the dog, but acted quickly and thankfully, made the right call.
“I wasn’t aware of any prior cases of us using Narcan on an animal,” said Davies. “So it was sort of improvised at the moment.”
Davies noted, however, that trainers at the police department were aware of the successful use of Narcan on dogs.
“Ultimately, it was the right decision because the puppy was clearly in distress and the Narcan was able to turn her around pretty quickly,” Davies said.
One of the dog’s owners told police it was the second time the dog had overdosed, according to an Irvine Police spokesperson who spoke with the Los Angeles Times.
The pit bull puppy was treated and later released. Police said the dog appeared to be healthy and in good spirits.
The dog’s owners, only identified as a man and a woman, are facing several charges related to their arrest. Meanwhile, the puppy remains in the city’s custody.