Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

They Ate What?

by User Not Found | Jun 03, 2012

This week I wanted to share a story that one of our foster's wrote.  What will forever be known as the Rimadyl incident is as follows in her words.....


Over the past 4 days I have learned 3 important lessons:

  1. Keep all medications in cabinets and off counters
  2. Keep fresh hydrogen peroxide on hand
  3. Keep your dog’s coordinator’s phone number in your cell phone


Thursday evening I had an event at work. I ran home, fed my girl, and my foster, giving them their appropriate medications tucked inside of treats. I was in a rush and left the medications on the counter (I normally put them in the cabinet). When I got home 4 hours later the dogs where happy to see me, and I found that the bag of treats had been taken from the counter and the contents gobbled up. Cleaning that, I noticed one of the prescription bottles was missing, went hunting, and discovered the bottle of Rimadyl chewed open and all 43 remaining pills gone. Hence lesson number 1.


I searched hopefully for a pile of vomited pills and did not find it. Knowing that Rimadyl is toxic, I cracked open a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide and gave both dogs a dose to make them vomit. I had heard about a teaspoon for every ten pounds of dog, so I measured it into two plastic cups and took the dogs on the deck. I dosed them both, and had very effective results. (I later heard from a dog loving friend that when she tried it, it did not work – partly because she only gave a tablespoon to her 75+ pound dog, and partly because the bottle was really old and had probably turned into mainly water). Hence lesson number 2.


As the hydrogen peroxide was taking effect I called my dog coordinator, whose number was stored in my cell phone. Not only was she reassuring, she called Katie and confirmed that both dogs needed to go to the Emergency Vet immediately. I hate to think of trying to lookup a number while dealing with vomiting dogs.

Hence lesson number 3.


Both dogs were admitted to the emergency vet hospital and started on IV’s to flush their kidneys. They received several medications and activated charcoal to clean out anything that was left. After 48 hours of IV fluids their bloodwork was normal and it appeared that this potential poisoning was caught in time. They never showed any changes in their behaviors and are extremely happy to be home now!


I wanted to share this saga with the other dog loving, golden hugging, medication dispensing, fostering families out there in hopes that NO ONE else has to go through the same thing. It is a terrible feeling, and apparently is quite common with “chewable flavored” medications such as Rimadyl.

So please - find a safe place to store medications, buy some hydrogen peroxide, and keep emergency numbers handy!



A big thanks and kudos to this foster for her quick thinking, she certainly saved these girls and avoided some major organ damage.  I thought we could all learn from this situation and wanted to talk a bit about the medical side of things here too.  Rimadyl is like the dog version of Ibuprofen.  It is broken down and excreted by the liver and kidneys and large amounts of it, are as she stated, toxic.  The problem here is that Rimadyl is also made in a tasty version to get your dogs to eat it, so when these two crazy kids broke in to the bottle, they happily gobbled up every last pill.  In addition, because they are chewable, they are quickly and readily absorbed into the dog’s system.  This rule of thumb should be followed with all chewables, if they ate it, it’s gone.  This is a good thing with medications such as heartworm pills, but a bad thing with drugs that can be toxic.  Fancy word alert.  Bioavailable means that the contents are readily absorbed and used by the body.  When you swallow a pill, how on earth does it dissolve in your stomach and still get to where it needs to go??  Or does it?  In some medications there are carrier molecules, which act like little helpers that take the drug to where it needs to go in the body.  An example is Hydroxyzine.  This is often given to dogs to help with allergies and itching, it’s an antihistamine.  But there are two versions, one is Hydroxyzine HCL and one is Hydroxyzine Pamoate.  The difference is the HCL vs. the Pamoate, which is only the carrier molecule.  Ironically, the HCL costs about twice as much.  Therefore only part of the drug is bioavailable or available to actually help what it was prescribed for, in this case allergies.  So medications given IV are 100% bioavailable because they do not pass thru the stomach.  Rimadyl is more than 90% bioavailable, so it is absorbed very rapidly.  The moral of this story is that Rimadyl ingestion is a 100% emergency.

Be wary of hydrogen peroxide use, especially if you don’t know what you are doing.  As you probably know, we aren’t meant to drink it.  Ask your vet about it next time you are in for a visit so you are prepared to use and you know when it is appropriate to use.  Remember this is only for situations that you have discovered right away.  If you don’t know how long it’s been since your dog “ate” whatever they ate, then its best to head straight for the Emergency Clinic and don’t waste time with the peroxide.  Luckily our foster was prepared and the girls had no idea there was anything wrong with them.  Silly girls, thanks for the ER lesson.



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