Fentanyl Patch Side Effects in Dogs

A fentanyl patch is one of the less frequently utilized methods of pain relief after surgery or injury in dogs. In most cases, your pet will not require a method of pain relief that is as strong or continuous as a fentanyl patch. These patches are designed to deliver a continuous dosage of the pain reliever to your pet, which may be helpful if he has a chronic condition that is very uncomfortable or if he's suffered a major surgery or injury recently. However, it's important also to know that fentanyl, while it can greatly improve the quality of your pet's life in these conditions, also has a number of side effects associated with it.

Respiratory Problems

The single most important and problematic side effect associated with fentanyl patches is respiratory problems. In many cases in which a dog has respiratory problems as a result of wearing one of these patches, he will simply stop breathing as normal. This is a serious and very immediate health concern. The reason for this side effect typically has to do with a reaction to the narcotic fentanyl in general. Fentanyl is a potent pain reliever that is in the same line of drugs as morphine and opium. The reactions in most animals are very different, and respiratory issues are among the more common of these reactions.

Listlessness and Lethargy

Related to respiratory problems, dogs that have fentanyl patches occasionally develop listlessness and general lethargy. In extreme cases, this results in respiratory problems, but more often than not it just means that your pet will have a difficult time moving around or being properly functional. In most cases, this means that the fentanyl patch is delivering a higher quantity of the drug to your pet's system than is required. You can remedy this in one of several different ways. It may be helpful to temporarily remove the patch so that you discontinue the flow of fentanyl to your dog's body. Additionally, keep your pet away from any heat sources that may rush the process of the delivery of the medicine. Ask your vet for further advice.

Excessive Appetite

One of the effects of drugs in the narcotic family is that they produce a feeling of euphoria in animals. Different pets will manifest this reaction in a variety of ways, but one of the more common responses is an intense increase in appetite. If you're not careful, a pet that is experiencing this rush of drug related euphoria may continue to eat until he vomits or becomes ill. For this reason, it's important that you still monitor your pet's eating closely as he's on a prescription fentanyl patch treatment. Alternately, some animals go into a state of anorexia or refusing to eat as a result of this patch, so it's a good idea to monitor your pet's eating as closely as possible.