Smart Thinking Saves Pet Rat After Heroin Overdose

Snuggles recovering after her overdose
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2017 8:57 AM CDT
Smart Thinking Saves Pet Rat After Heroin Overdose
Snuggles is doing much better now.   (Twitter)

The heroin epidemic has made its way to Vancouver, British Columbia, and even the rats are being felled. In the case of Snuggles, a pet rat rushed into the Overdose Prevention Society on Sunday, volunteers were actually able to save her life after a quick-thinking pharmacy student administered naloxone (aka Narcan), which blocks the physical effects of opioids, NPR reports. Sarah Blyth, a co-founder of the group that runs the OD prevention location, tweeted a picture of what Snuggles (originally thought to be a mouse) looked like when she was brought into the center, after her owner says the animal ate heroin off a tabletop. The lethargic rodent was barely breathing and seemed too small to attempt a Narcan injection, as its tiny organs could have been punctured. This forced volunteer Melissa Patton to get creative.

"I know with animals, if you put [liquid] on their nose, they brush it off with their paws and lick their paws to clean themselves," she tells the CBC, noting she did just that. Per the Vancouver Sun, volunteers gave Snuggles water and a protein powder mix to boost her energy, and Patton let Snuggles rest against her neck most of the night so she could get "skin-to-skin contact," much like Patton had seen done with infants in neonatal ICUs. By the next morning, Snuggles had "perked up," and Blyth tweeted a follow-up pic showing the "very, very cuddly" rat noshing on strawberries. Patton, meanwhile, has decided to take Snuggles in while her owner is in detox for her drug problem. (Paramedics recently saved a Pennsylvania sixth-grader with Narcan.)

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