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A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Comparing the Effect of Intramuscular Versus Intranasal Naloxone Reversal of Intravenous Fentanyl on Odor Detection in Working Dogs

1
Penn Vet Working Dog Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19146, USA
2
US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010, USA
3
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
4
Department of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(6), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060385
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 22 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and Olfaction of Dogs)
The recent increase in fentanyl as an illicit street drug, paired with its powerful potency, has led to emergency personnel carrying naloxone, an opioid reversal agent, for the case of accidental exposures and overdoses in humans. Canine officers, if demonstrating intoxication from exposure to fentanyl, are consequently administered naloxone, however the effects of this treatment on the dogs’ scent detection are unknown. We tested the effects of intravenous and intranasal naloxone administration on dogs’ scent detection 2, 24, and 48 h after intravenous fentanyl sedation and naloxone reversal. We found no detectable influence of this fentanyl sedation and naloxone reversal on dogs’ abilities, regardless of whether they received intranasal or intramuscular naloxone. Results suggest there is no evidence that under these conditions, intravenous fentanyl followed by naloxone reversal impairs canine olfactory ability.
Fentanyl is a potent opioid used clinically as a pain medication and anesthetic but has recently seen a sharp rise as an illicit street drug. The potency of fentanyl means mucous membrane exposure to a small amount of the drug can expose first responders, including working canines, to accidental overdose. Naloxone, a fast-acting opioid antagonist administered intranasally (IN) or intramuscularly (IM) is currently carried by emergency personnel in the case of accidental exposure in both humans and canines. Despite the fact that law enforcement relies heavily on the olfactory abilities of canine officers, the effects of fentanyl exposure and subsequent reversal by naloxone on the olfactory performance of canines are unknown. In a block-randomized, crossover trial, we tested the effects of IN and IM naloxone on the abilities of working dogs to recognize the odor of Universal Detection Calibrant (UDC) prior to, and two, 24, and 48 h after intravenous fentanyl sedation and naloxone reversal. No detectable influence of fentanyl sedation and naloxone reversal on the dogs’ olfactory abilities was detected. We also found no difference in olfactory abilities when dogs received IN or IM naloxone. Together, results suggest no evidence that exposure to intravenous fentanyl followed by naloxone reversal impairs canine olfactory ability under these conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: dogs; fentanyl; naloxone; odor detection; working dogs dogs; fentanyl; naloxone; odor detection; working dogs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Essler, J.L.; Smith, P.G.; Berger, D.; Gregorio, E.; Pennington, M.R.; McGuire, A.; Furton, K.G.; Otto, C.M. A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Comparing the Effect of Intramuscular Versus Intranasal Naloxone Reversal of Intravenous Fentanyl on Odor Detection in Working Dogs. Animals 2019, 9, 385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060385

AMA Style

Essler JL, Smith PG, Berger D, Gregorio E, Pennington MR, McGuire A, Furton KG, Otto CM. A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Comparing the Effect of Intramuscular Versus Intranasal Naloxone Reversal of Intravenous Fentanyl on Odor Detection in Working Dogs. Animals. 2019; 9(6):385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060385

Chicago/Turabian Style

Essler, Jennifer L.; Smith, Paige G.; Berger, Danielle; Gregorio, Elizabeth; Pennington, M. R.; McGuire, Amanda; Furton, Kenneth G.; Otto, Cynthia M. 2019. "A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Comparing the Effect of Intramuscular Versus Intranasal Naloxone Reversal of Intravenous Fentanyl on Odor Detection in Working Dogs" Animals 9, no. 6: 385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060385

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