Dog Goes Blind After Eating Oxycodone at a Santa Monica Park

Chance the Rapper (the dog) survived ingesting Oxycodone after a stroll along Palisades Park, but he lost his sight

Chance the Rapper—the dog, not the person—is doggone lucky to be alive after crossing paths with an untidy pill-head while taking a stroll through Santa Monica last week. His owner, Lori Burns, was walking him along Palisades Park when he began behaving oddly.

“Out of nowhere he just stopped, Burns told ABC7. “I looked down and he collapsed. “All four legs were completely out. He was panting extremely heavily. He was looking up into the sky,” Burns said.

Burns rushed Chance to the VCA Animal Specialty and Emergency Center in West Los Angeles, where a veterinarian told her Chance had a 106-degree fever. What was more disturbing, the vet informed Burns that her beloved pal had oxycodone in his urine, something he apparently accidentally swallowed on their walk.

Burns recalled, “He said it’s really serious, and I said to the point, ‘Is he going to live?’ and he said ‘I don’t know.’ And, that’s when I lost it.”

After 24 hours in the hospital and a $4,000 vet bill, Chance was back home. Unfortunately, he lost his sight as an effect of swallowing the powerful painkiller.

Veterinarian Kwane Stewart, of the nonprofit Project Street Vet—which did not treat Burns’ dog—told the station that Burns’ immediate action in rushing Chance to the nearest emergency vet probably saved his life.

“The pet parent is more inclined to play what we call ‘Google vet’ and go to their phone and start researching, and try to figure out what may be the cause,” Stewart said, noting that is the wrong strategy. “Seconds and minutes count. You need to get on the phone with a professional.”

Chance’s situation is not unusual. Rising drug use among humans make their animal companions more vulnerable to ingesting substances like cannabis and opiates, according to a recent article on The Conversation. A 2020 National Geographic article titled “Dogs, the Other Victims of the Opiate Crisis” stated, “For the first time, scientists have looked at the impact of opioids on canines—and found that young, small dogs are most at risk.”

A paper published in the journal Plos One, meanwhile, analyzed calls to a poison control hotline for animals and discovered that pet owners made on average nearly 600 calls per year to report accidental ingestion of opioids, according to ABC7.

“We would never want someone to stop walking their dog or be fearful of walking their dog at a dog park because they hear this story,” Stewart said. “Just be aware: Where you’re walking your dog. Where they’re spending time. What they’re sniffing. Investigate. If you’re seeing any signs whatsoever, and it can vary, but people know their dogs. They know when their behavior is off. If you’re observing any odd behavior, it’s time to take action.”

But there’s still hope Chance may see again. As Fox11 reports, Chance has had more tests recently, and doctors told Burns that he does have some activity in his retina, so he may not be fully blind.

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