Otto’s overdose emergency

Gorgeous 8-month-old Newfoundland puppy Otto recently got himself in a really serious situation.

His owners had to take the 45kg puppy to their vets as he became very wobbly and disoriented – known as acute onset ataxia after they found medication in his bedding. He had managed to get hold of the drug Baclofen and swallowed it! His vets tried to make him vomit but weren’t able to, so his owners rushed him to our emergency service.

During transfer he became unresponsive and by the time he arrived with us he was comatose and hardly breathing.

The amount of medication his owners believed he had ingested was over the lethal dose. Baclofen can rapidly cause death as it can stop dogs from breathing as well as cause muscle weakness and seizures.

When he arrived, Otto was immediately triaged as a priority by our Emergency Critical Care Specialist, Adam Mugford. He required immediate intubation (where a plastic tube is inserted into the trachea (windpipe) to secure his airway to help him breathe), he was initially supported by hand ventilation with our large team of experienced nurses rapidly assisting with his stabilisation. He was given fluid therapy as well as a lipid infusion which is helpful to speed the clearance of the toxin due to its highly fat-soluble nature.

Unfortunately, the level of intoxication was so severe that Otto was not able to breath on his own for a prolonged period of time.

Fortunately, we now have one of the most advanced intensive care ventilators available in the UK to support patients with severe respiratory disease. Otto needed to be supported by intravenous anaesthesia for an entire day with constant 1:1 critical care nursing.

However, he was eventually able to breath for himself without fatigue and was weaned from the ventilator.

Otto was very lucky, he recovered well and gradually regained his mobility. He was discharged from hospital four days after being rushed into us, almost completely back to his usual bouncy self! This is a rapid recovery from a severe life-threatening condition due to the speed and skill of the team and the advanced level of equipment we have available. It is very hard for owners to always be watching a naughty inquisitive puppy, but human medication can be a very real danger to pets.

Otto’s owners sent a lovely thank you card to the team that said “To all the staff at Anderson Moores, thank you doesn’t quite say how we feel! But a million times thank you for saving our Otto!!! Superheroes!! What a team!”