Vets now carrying opioid antidote to save police K9s

(Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Naloxone has saved thousands of human lives and now, it can work for canines too. The only difference is that it is injected in dogs instead of being shot up the nose.

Fire and police departments in Middle Tennessee often carry Naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid use.

Metro veterinarians are now carrying the opioid antidote for the police department’s K-9 Unit.

Metro police partners with multiple vets in the Greater Nashville area in case of an emergency.

With 28 K-9 officers, Metro police does have measures in place to protect the dogs.

Sgt. Brent Gibson said their dogs are not allowed inside cars or homes.

“A dog moves very fast. With no warning, a dog could go under the front seat of a car and ingest some form of narcotic that could cause death or serious injury to the k9,” said Gibson.

If a K-9 alerts by sitting, the officer will search the vehicle.

Blue Pearl of Franklin is one of metro’s veterinary partners. Dr. Andrea Monnig said if a dog overdoses, they’ll use the same antidote used to reverse opioid overdoses in humans, Naloxone.

“It may be that they just need one dose of the naloxone to reverse the signs. Some animals or drugs will require multiple doses,” said Monnig.

So far, none of metro’s K9s have overdosed or died. Sgt. Gibson wants to keep it that way.

“The handlers are very vigilant as far as where they put the dog, what kind of scenario the dog is placed in and through repetitious training we feel confident we can avoid any type of accidental exposure.”

Each K-9 must complete 40 days of training before they are allowed to work the streets