Ecstasy Toxicosis in Animals
Ecstasy is a combination of MDMA (3.4 methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) and caffeine, so the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center says treatment will usually focus on both amphetamine and caffeine toxicoses.
While urine drug screens can be used to pick up MDMA, there will be cross-reaction with amphetamines and methamphetamine, as they are all in the same class of medications.
Because amphetamines are sympathomimetics, they will cause the release of catecholamines, creating cardiovascular and CNS stimulation.
Signs of Exposure
Most commonly seen is tachycardia, though you may also see reflex bradycardia, agitation, hyperactivity, agitation, mydriasis, circling, head bobbing, tremors, disorientation and hyperesthesia.
Cats in particular may often hide, stare and be extremely withdrawn.
Phenothiazines, such as acepromazine or chlorpromazine, are a mainstay of treatment for hyperactivity and agitation. IV fluid diuresis is important for cardiovascular support and to enhance elimination. Beta blockers may be used for tachycardia in the calm pet (propranolol should be avoided in hypertensive patients).
While benzodiazepines will typically be used to treat stimulatory signs due to caffeine, this will often make amphetamine signs worse, so they should be avoided in these cases. If the pet is having seizure activity, however, benzodiazepine may be used.
Fortunately the treatment for MDMA will typically resolve all of the signs with the caffeine as well.
Signs with this exposure are typically seen quickly – within two hours – and can last up to 72 hours. The pet will be ready to go home when he has not needed medical treatment for eight hours.
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