Amphetamine Toxicity in Dogs and Cats
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Toxin
Amphetamine

Source
Amphetamines are illegal drugs also known as speed or uppers. Other drug agents in this class include methamphetamines, phenmetrazine, and mephentermine. There are some legal uses for amphetamines in human medicine.

General Information
Amphetamines stimulate the release of norepinephrine. The norepinephrine stimulates the central nervous system. This stimulation causes the signs we see in patients exposed to the drug.

Toxic Dose
Death has been noted with the ingestion of 0.59 mg of methamphetamine per pound of body weight.

Signs
Pallor or reddened mucous membranes and skin, restlessness, hyperactivity, hyperthermia, hypertension or hypotension, increased respiratory and heart rates, abnormal heart rhythm, drooling, dilated pupils, muscle tremors, seizures, circulatory collapse, and death.

Immediate Action
Do not induce vomiting without veterinary instruction as the patient may lose consciousness quickly and aspirate the vomitus. Seek veterinary attention.

Veterinary Care
General treatment: The induction of vomiting may be started depending on the patient's level of consciousness, gastric lavage is performed, and activated charcoal is administered.

Supportive treatment: Seizures are controlled and normal body temperature monitored. IV fluids are administered to maintain hydration status and help maintain body temperature. Administration of ammonium chloride helps to acidify the urine and increase elimination of amphetamines from the body. This is only done if there are no signs of blood gas abnormalities, kidney failure, or muscle damage.

Specific treatment: Administer dopamine agonists which are protective against the lethal effects of amphetamines. These drugs counteract the amphetamine-induced hyperthermia, hypertension, and seizures.

Prognosis
Variable depending on the substance ingested, the amount ingested, and the severity of signs at the time treatment begins.

 
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Updated 6/20/17


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