Incidents of the drug Narcan reviving heroin overdose addicts are often heard, but for the first time this life-saving drug was used to revive a pet rat. Narcan helped revive the pet rat called Snuggles who had accidentally overdosed on heroin.
The owner — a heroin addict — brought her pet rat to the Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver, Canada. Volunteers at the OPS stated that Snuggles, a female rat, was showing all symptoms of heroin overdose generally seen in humans.
“It was just lying there, listless. It was just like a human overdose. Your breathing functions start to shut down,” Sarah Blyth co-founder of the OPS recounted.
Narcan Saves Pet Rat In Vancouver
Blyth who documented the rescue on Twitter by uploading before and after photographs of Snuggles stated that the volunteers at the OPS decided to administer nalaxone — more commonly known as Narcan — to revive the creature.
Melissa Patton, the volunteer who was instrumental in saving Snuggle’s life, told CBC that the rat had passed out and was not breathing when it was admitted. Given the fact that the volunteers were handling a heroin overdose case of a rat for the first time, Patton, a pharmaceutical science student, decided to orally feed Narcan to the rat.
— sarah blyth (@sarahblyth) May 15, 2017
She decided to administer the drug orally as the rat was too tiny for injecting the Narcon into her system.
“I just put drops on its nose. I know with animals, if you put it on their nose, they brush it off with their paws and lick their paws to clean themselves, so we did that a few times.” Patton told CBC in an interview.
Patton also provided Snuggles with oxygen and monitored her health throughout the night. She also fed Snuggles diluted protein powder with the help of a syringe and kept the rat on her neck to provide it warmth and a feeling of security.
It was only the next morning that the volunteers were sure that Snuggles would live. Patton later adopted the pet rat — who has recovered completely — on the request of the mouse’s original owner, who has now entered a detox program.
What Is Narcan?
Narcan or Naloxone is a drug that works by reversing the effects of heroin, vicodin, OxyContin, and many other opioids. The drug stops the physical effects of opioids and effectively ends the high, reviving the respiratory system — which in case of an overdose can fail.
The case of the pet rat is not an isolated incident, veterinarian and police officers in the United States have saved the lives of many pet cats and dogs that have accidentally overdosed on heroin.