Toxicities are one of the more common presenting problems we see in the emergency room at Animal Accident and Emergency (AAE). Although it can be embarrassing for owners to admit, this includes accidental ingestion of illicit drugs.
There are some common symptoms that can be associated with different drug exposures; however, it is always reassuring to have a quantitative answer. There are many time where owners have no idea that their pet has found something they shouldn’t have.
Earlier this week, our emergency team were presented with a pet who was mentally altered and starting to have fits or seizures. There was no long term medical problems and the signs had developed rapidly. Given the type of signs, we asked the clients regarding access to some recreational drugs. While they were sure that their pet could not have been exposed, we ran a DIPSCAN test to be sure. The DIPSCAN was positive for a number of drugs. One being Diazepam which was given by the emergency team during stabilisation of the seizures. In this case, exposure was linked to a party held a week before hand.
Other times where the test has helped us out is when pets scavenge stuff from parks or laneways around houses. Again, owners are often unaware of what their pet has ingested. Identification is important as it can change the way we treat your pet in an emergency. Knowing what drugs your pet has ingested, can be save its life.
DIPSCAN is an in-house, diagnostic tool commonly utilised at AAE when there has been a suspected exposure to illicit drugs. By processing a urine sample we are able to identify trace amounts of illicit drugs such as: marijuana, opioids (e.g. heroin, morphine), cocaine, amphetamines, methyl-amphetamines and benzodiazepines (e.g. diazepam). Attached is a photo of a DIPSCAN test. To read the test, you look to see the windows where there is only one line.
This test can be extremely valuable when trying to structure treatment plans, anticipate future treatment requirements and reinforce prognosis.
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