Human Medication Overdoses Can Be Deadly For Pets

“Close that suitcase!

“And keep it closed!”

I’m sure that’s what the lady wanted to say to her two elderly vistors.

A regular client of our hospital brought her middle-aged mixed-breed dog in with an unrelenting thirst. He was drinking and urinating and drinking and urinating and despite all of the drinking he was still dehydrated.

We ran laboratory tests and they were conclusive: He was dying of kidney failure. We put him on intravenous (IV) fluid therapy for the day, then told her to take him home for the night and prepare to say goodbye over the next day or two.

To our surprise, when the next day or two passed he had stopped drinking so much water and was no longer dehydrated. We repeated the urine and blood tests and, voila, he was healed!

My only explanation for recovery from a certain death sentence was that he had experienced an acute insult to the kidneys and had overcome it with the fluid therapy and time.

The “real” answer came a few days later.

The loving pet owner said she had gotten a call from her recent house guests letting her know they had gotten home safely. They were two sweet elderly ladies, both of whom were heart patients.

“By the way,” they inquired, “how was the little blond dog doing?”

“Why do you ask?” the homeowner queried.

Laughing, they reported how the little dog had gulped down the diuretic (fluid) pills they accidentally dropped on the floor. They thought it was hilarious and had no idea how many the dog had eaten.

When they heard of the grief and fear the poor pet owner had been through, and the near-death experience the dog had, they stopped laughing.

In retrospect we deduced that the diuretic dose had been so incredibly high that dehydration falsely elevated the kidney test numbers, fooling us into thinking the kidneys were not filtering at all, despite the massive amounts of fluid passing through the patient. Once the medication was out if his system and the kidneys were functioning normally, the test results also returned to normal.’s take-home lesson:  Please ask your guests keep their suitcases closed and medicines secured.  If visitors are on medication, find out their dosing schedule and keep pets confined to another part of the house during those times.

More tomorrow on this subject: an experience at my own home.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph

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