As the Canadian province of British Columbia grapples with a record-setting year of opioid overdoses, one puppy was almost the latest victim, CTV News reports.
Dr. Adrain Walton, a veterinarian who practices in the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge, says he saved the life of a seven-week-old Shih Tzu puppy after it was brought into the Dewdney Animal Hospital because it was unresponsive and clearly sick.
Walton says they first tested the dog for hypoglycemia, something that commonly afflicts puppies.
“We were probably about 15 seconds away from the heart completely stopping,” Walton told CTV News. The veterinarian noted that the dog’s heart was only beating 20 times a minute, about one-third slower than considered normal.
Then Walton took a stab in the dark and asked the owner if the dog could have come into contact with drugs. The owner admitted that there was fentanyl in the house and that the animal had likely injested some of the drug.
“Most people lie when it comes to drugs and this owner was forthright,” Walton said. “If he hadn’t, we would have lost this dog.”
Fentanyl is an opioid-based drug that killed 575 people in Vancouver last year alone and is set to easily surpass that mark in 2017.
Walton gave the dog two injections of naloxone, a drug that can also be used on humans to counteract the deadly affects of a fentanyl overdose. “We gave the injection and we had a brand new puppy,” he said.
The puppy quickly earned a nickname at the vet clinic: “Wallace,” a name chosen to commemorate the Uma Thurman character in the film Pulp Fiction, who was also snatched from grip of a drug overdoes.
The puppy spent an additional week with Walton while recuperation but has been returned to the owner today after an investigation by the B.C. SPCA.