Of Mice and Overdose: a Vancouver problem takes it toll on a tiny critter

A few weeks ago, Critterfiles reported the tweet sent out by a Vancouver police sergeant who saw drug needles being used by pigeons as a nest.

Today, another critter and Vancouver’s continuing overdose problems especially in concentrated areas like the Downtown Eastside.

A worker at an overdose prevention site was called on to save the life of a pet mouse name Snuggles.

Snuggles had apparently eaten heroin belonging to its owner, a woman who brought in her pet to the Maple Overdose Prevention Site on East Hastings. Snuggles was unresponsive.

Melissa Patton was on duty at the site and told CBC that Snuggles’ owner told workers that the mouse had eaten some heroin off the table.

It had pretty much passed out and wasn’t really breathing. We weren’t sure what to do, so I gave it some Narcan orally. Because it was so tiny, I didn’t want to puncture anything by giving it an injection.”

Snuggles the mouse

Snuggles responded to treatment and is now back to normal, according to Patton who has now adopted the mouse.

I just put drops on its nose. I know with animals, if you put it on their nose, they brush it off with their paws and lick their paws to clean themselves, so we did that a few times.”

Narcan, also known as naloxone, reverses the effects of opioid drugs.

Patton, who is a year away from earning a degree in pharmaceutical sciences, also gave the mouse oxygen and continued to monitor it through the night.

With babies … when they’re struggling … skin-to-skin contact is really important, so I had it up on my neck for most of the night and for most of my shift and then I brought it home.”

Patton used a syringe to feed Snuggles diluted protein powder. It was only in the morning she knew the mouse would live.


About the author

Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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