Fentanyl now a concern for K9 units - FOX Carolina 21

Fentanyl now a concern for K9 units

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Greenville, NC (FOX Carolina) -

When Sgt. Douglas Wannemacher of the Greenville County Sheriff's office deploys his partner Rick, he never knows what his nose will find.

"When we're looking at a dog,” explained Sgt. Wannemacher, “They smell 44 times greater than a human."

The officers do their part to prevent their K-9 from getting into something harmful.

"An ounce of prevention, prevents the treatment,” explained Sgt. Wannemacher, “That's what you really have to look at. Before we deploy any of our dogs, we do a safety check. Putting no officer or dog at risk, is our goal."

But now there's another fear added to the list of dangerous substances that's sweeping South Carolina, fentanyl.

"We use it every day,” explained veterinarian, Rob Presley, “It's a great pain medication. Like I said, it’s just super safe as well."

The opioid is used by veterinarians for surgeries in a controlled setting; it's totally safe. However, the street form is just as dangerous to dogs as it is to humans.

“We actually developed a K9 handler kit,” explained Presley, “It's a small medical kit that they can actually wear on their vests. Everything in the kit can be used on the dog or person."

It includes Narcan which is used to counteract fentanyl and prevent an overdose. Luckily no dogs in Greenville County have overdosed on the substance.

The kits are about $125 a piece and have a 5 year shelf life. Presley hopes to have every K-9 unit equipped with one.

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