Balcofen is a human medication used as a skeletal muscle relaxant. It can be used to control spasticity and pain in humans, and off-label in dogs to treat urinary retention.  It can be fatal to cats and dogs due to its narrow margin of safety, so small amounts of drug cause severe poisoning.

Signs and symptoms of toxicity: vocalization, walking “drunk”, increased saliva production, severe sedation, agitation, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, very low body temperature, tremors, seizures, difficulty breathing, or death. Onset of clinical signs after overdoses can occur from 15 minutes to 7 hours after ingestion and can persist for hours to days.

Toxic consumption: There are no established lethal doses in dogs, but per the ASPCA APCC database, deaths in dogs have occurred at doses estimated to be between 8 and 16 mg/kg. However oral overdoses have been reported at doses as low as 1.3 mg/kg.

References:                                                                                                                                                      

– Baclofen. In Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs. Tulsa (OK): Education Concepts, LLC [updated 7/17; accessed 8/20/19]. http://www.plumbsveterinarydrugs.com/#!/monograph/X3Rk0Gxa3y.      

– Hecht DV, Allenspach K. Presumptive Baclofen Intoxication in a Dog. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 1998; 8:49-54.

– Osweiler, G, et al. (2011). Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion. Small Animal Toxicology. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com                                         

– Baclofen. In Pet Posion Helpline. [updated 1/19; accessed 8/20/19]. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/baclofen/