BUFFALO, NY (Spectrum News/CNN) - Increasingly, police dogs that accidentally overdose while sniffing about for drugs are getting immediate emergency medication from their human partners.
The K-9’s receive Narcan, a medication used for treating overdosed opioid users, when they get a large dose of heroin or fentanyl.
"We try to check the place out, or the vehicle we're searching or the place we're searching make sure it's safe," said Jay Hoy of the New York State Police K-9 Unit.
Joseph Savarese of the Erie County Sheriff's Office commented.
"It's an unfortunate situation because they're sniffing, they're trying to detect so when they come upon something, it hits," he said.
Hoy said that a small amount that touches a human's skin has an affect "so imagine what it can do to our dogs."
If a dog breathes in any amount of drugs, officers in the field can treat them like they would a person, with Narcan.
"We can use it in K-9's in the same way inter-nasally," Savarese said. "It has been used in K-9's but as an injection."
In the past, affected dogs would have to be brought into a vet to be treated for drug-related incidents.
Now handlers with both the state police and Erie County Sheriff's Office are trained to use Narcan immediately on their four-legged partners if they sniff their way into trouble.
Neither agency has had to use the lifesaving medicine on any of its dogs. but with the rising use of drugs laced with the deadly fentanyl officers say you can never be too safe.
"We can't see everything," Hoy said. "We don't know everything is there, but we take every precaution we can to prevent anything bad from happening. and if it does we have the training necessary."
Hoy says if a dog is treated with Narcan and recovers 100 percent it wouldn't be long before they could return to the line of duty.
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