One of my dogs will have surgery this week to repair a torn ACL in his hind leg. It appears a recent hike or trip to the beach did not cause the injury, but rather, as the vet said, it is just a matter of wear and tear. So I can safely blame God for a flaw in canine orthopedics (I saw the x-rays; the bones in a dog’s knee don’t fit together the way they really should). The dog will require two months’ rest to recover fully, and for the first days following surgery, he will be given an opioid painkiller. Today’s post is about the protocol the vet is following to make sure my dog is not a drug dealer.

You see, the dog will not just be given any opioid painkiller. He will be on doggie-specific Fentanyl. I had to sign a release and authorization at the vet’s the other day to permit the dog to get the powerful medicine after the procedure. The liquid opioid will be applied (first by the vet, then by us) to the fur and skin at the top of the neck, the same way you might apply monthly flea or tick repellent to a pet. Two things came up at the vet’s when I was having this explained to me.

First, when doggie Fentanyl was being tested for safety and effectiveness prior to its being approved and marketed, scientists tested the prototypes on humans. Human subjects were brought into the lab, the medicine was applied to a dog’s neck, and the humans would immediately and vigorously rub their fingers on the wet fur and then lick their fingers in an attempt to ingest the drug. That really happened! The manufacturer wanted to make sure the drug’s euphoria-creating properties did not transfer to the human subjects. Apparently, all was well, as the drug was approved.

Second, since some human Fentanyl users continue to seek the drug through nefarious means, for purposes of use or sale, my dog’s vet had to run my name on CURES, California’s prescription drug monitoring database, to make sure I was not doctor shopping through my pet. The vet had to make sure I was not pretending to need Fentanyl for my dog, while in reality seeking it for my own use or for narcotics sales.

I passed the CURES test. The medicine is ready for purchase and administration. Further, I remain confident that my dog is not peddling Fentanyl. I like to think I’d have sensed something by now. Just because he always keeps his pager nearby and regularly does online research on how to beat a wiretap doesn’t mean I should take a jaundiced view of my loyal hound.

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