Albuterol Poisoning in a Dog: Clarke Chews Up an Asthma Inhaler

When your dog chews on and punctures an asthma inhaler, they can suffer severe, acute poisoning.

Asthma inhalers contain one of two substances:

  • drugs that expand the lungs (such as albuterol)
  • steroids

One inhaler can contain up to 200 doses of medication. If your dog gets that in their system, the poisoning is severe. Potential effects include:

  • agitation
  • hyperactivity
  • vomiting
  • panting
  • electrolyte abnormalities
  • muscle tremors
  • dangerously increased heart rate
  • dangerously high blood pressure
  • heart arrhythmia
  • weakness
  • colapse
  • death

Further information: Asthma Inhaler Toxicity to Pets

Albuterol Poisoning in a Dog: Clarke Chews Up an Asthma Inhaler

Dogs like to investigate things on their own. Is this edible? How about that? Maybe it’s a toy? It fits in my mouth, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, our dogs are surrounded by many things that can seriously harm them. It is our job to keep such items out of reach.

Clarke’s story

Clarke is a young Labrador Retriever. True to his breed, he often gets into trouble. This time, however, his curiosity almost cost him his life. When, during his explorations, he found an asthma inhaler, he decided to see what it might be good for. He cracked and decided it was not much fun after all. However, the damage has already been done.

Clarke was lucky

Fortunately for Clarke, his parent discovered the damaged inhaler—they heard the hiss. They knew how dangerous it is and rushed Clarke to an emergency hospital. Even then, by the time Clarke was admitted, his heart rate and blood pressure were double the normal. His potassium levels were dangerously low. Had he received medical help much later, Clarke could have died.

A dog who gets into an asthma inhaler can look fine at first. Within half an hour, however, symptoms start cropping up fast and without help the encounter can be fatal.

The treatment

Immediately, Clarke was put on IV fluids and medications to block the effects of the drug. Aggressive treatment saved Clarke’s life. His vitals improved quickly and 12 hours later he could go home.

In closing

Clarke was fortunate that he received help fast. What if nobody was home or the damaged inhaler wasn’t discovered?

Be aware of items that can hurt or poison your dog and keep them out of reach. Don’t forget that things in a purse are only safe when the purse is put away. Keep an eye on what your guests might be carrying in their purses too and find a safe place for such things. Nobody wants to lose their dog over such a misadventure.

Source story:
Case Study: The Dangers of Prescription Medication Exposure or Overdose in Pets

Related articles:
Barbiturate Poisoning in a Dog: Yogi’s Sudden Collapse

Further reading:
Asthma Inhaler Toxicity to Pets

Categories: Dog health advocacy

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

One Comment
  1. FiveSibesMom

    Wow…how scary. Clark’s so lucky his family was quick acting. Having an albuterol inhaler, this caught my attention! As always, excellent info!

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