Working dogs will frequently come in contact with explosive and narcotic training aids while conducting training. It is imperative that handlers be able to recognize and provide first aid to an their canine if they start showing the signs and symptoms of training aid toxicity.
Symptoms of Training Aid Toxicity Nitrate and Nitro-Based Explosive Training Aid
Symptoms of training aid toxicity for a nitrate and nitro-based explosive training aid that has been ingested are salivation, dizziness, stumbling, nausea, convulsions, dark brown mucous membranes, cyanosis, and death.
Symptoms of Training Aid Toxicity for Narcotic Training Aids
If a marijuana/hashish training aid is ingested, the canine will show signs of confusion, hallucinations, dizziness, nausea, and having breathing problems.
If a heroin training aid has been ingested, the canine will have pinpointed pupils, slow heart rate, and breathing problems, and possibly go into a coma.
If cocaine or amphetamine training aid has been ingested, the canine will have dilated pupils; show signs of restlessness and aggression; hallucinate; and have a rapid heart rate and convulsions.
How to Treat a Canine for Training Aid Toxicity
If you witness your dog ingest a training aid, or the dog is displaying symptoms that it has recently ingested a training aid, take immediate action.
Administer Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is administered to a canine to induce vomiting should your dog eat a toxic substance. Ensure when administering the activated charcoal ensure that the dog is conscious and is able to swallow. DO NOT attempt to administer activated charcoal orally if the dog is not conscious.
Activated charcoal SHOULD NOT be administered if 1 hour has passed since the dog ingested the toxic substance.
DO NOT induce vomiting if the canine ate a corrosive or petroleum-based product such as, but not limited to, gasoline, oil, tar, grease, paint, solvents, paint strippers, paint thinners, nail polish or removers, hair spray, or batteries.
How to Administer Activated Charcoal by Mouth
Determine how much activated charcoal your dog needs based on its body weight. For dogs weighing between 40–60 pounds, give 2 bottles of Toxiban™ (240 ml/bottle) orally. For dogs weighing more than 60 pounds, give 3 bottles of Toxiban™ (240 ml/bottle) orally. Using a 60 cc syringe to measure the required amount, administer the required amount of Toxiban™ in one of two ways, as an oral slurry or mixed with food.
If the dog does not consume the Toxiban™ mixed with dog food, you will have to administer the medication as an oral slurry. To administer Toxiban™ as an oral medication (slurry):
- Tilt the dog’s head up so the nose is pointing mostly toward the sky.
- Form a pocket by pulling out the dog’s lower lip at the corner of the mouth.
- Insert the syringe gently into the pouch using your free hand. Do not scrape the gums with the syringe.
- Push the plunger forward slowly to squirt the medicine onto the dog’s cheek pouch.
- Administer the medication in 3 to 5 ml increments.
- Watch for swallowing between squirts and give your dog enough time to swallow each squirt of charcoal before giving your dog more.
Once the canine has consumed the activated charcoal contact veterinary support for further instructions. Make sure that you make a written record of the treatment, including the date, time, and actions taken.
It is vital that handlers are vigilant and act quickly in order to avert permanent damage and ultimately save the canines life.