16 February 2016

I Accidentally Gave My Dog Tylenol, What To Do?

Tylenol { Acetaminophen } is a human drug which can be poisonous to dogs, but how much is a toxic dose? What symptoms might you expect in the case of overdose and what treatment can be given? And is there an antidote? Read my article for fuller information ...

tylenol acetaminophen toxicity dog
Tylenol { acetaminophen } has the potential to be very toxic to dogs.

Tylenol { Acetaminophen } is a common human over the counter pain killer, it is a centrally acting analgesic and antipyretic drug as opposed to a NSAID such as Aspirin. Many people take it for head aches, colds and fevers, but with dogs there is a potential for serious toxicity and side effects so really this type of drug is best avoided in dogs. However some dogs get access to the drug accidentally as they find it lying about the house and other dogs are given the drug by well meaning owners who are unaware of the dangers.

But how much Acetaminophen is a serious overdose? : The toxic dose is said to be 45 mg per pound of the dog's bodyweight, at and above this dose level you may see serious symptoms.

What are the dangers of Acetaminophen overdose? : With toxic doses of this drug in dogs there is a danger of liver failure and at very high doses methemoglobinaemia can occur, this produces an abnormal form of haemoglobin and this is a dangerous condition which affects the blood's ability to carry oxygen.

What symptoms might you expect with Acetaminophen overdose? : You might expect to see such things as lethargy, inappetance, white colour of the gums and other mucous membranes, dark or black faeces, incoordination, and finally fits and coma.

How should an overdose be treated? : With other over the counter human painkillers such Aspirin or Ibuprofen if you can induce vomiting within the first hour to recover the drug in question then you may well be able to resolve the situation at home. However with Acetaminophen this is often not so successful as this drug is absorbed very quickly in the stomach so you may be too late unless vomiting was induced very swiftly indeed after ingestion.

If you suspect Acetaminophen overdose you would be best to take your dog to an ER vet without delay rather than considering home remedies. Your vet may consider the likes of activated charcoal and a high level of support including IV fluids and even blood transfusion in some cases. Luckily there is an effective antidote called n-acetylcysteine ( NAC) but of course the sooner this is given the better.

The bottom line is that though Acetaminophen toxicity can be fatal your dog can come through this provided the condition is diagnosed and treated quickly.