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Administering Activated Charcoal

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Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS(ECC), gives tips for administering activated charcoal to a toxin ingestion patient.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear

CVT VTS(ECC)

Enrolled: 07/2011

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Kristy Stops's picture

I like giving activated charcoal by stomach tube. No mess, no fuss, quick and easy.

Kim Erbes's picture

I like using a stomach tube to administer charcoal, also.

Megan Brashear's picture

Kim and Kristy, the charcoal via stomach tube is one of those debates for the ages, I hear support and disapproval for tubing. At DoveLewis we won't administer charcoal orally unless the patient can voluntarily swallow it, otherwise we will give it rectally. Are your patients awake and getting an orogastric tube? How is that experience?

Megan Varble's picture

Not fair! You used a black dog! (:
Also, how does giving it rectally work out? I've never heard of that.

Megan Brashear's picture

I know Megan! AND this dog was a bit altered from his toxin so he wasn't fighting the administration. I'm not above cheating when it comes to keeping charcoal off of my scrubs! Rectal charcoal has no proven benefit but the for those patients who we cannot give it orally or via orogastric tube due to their mentation we feel that it is doing some good, hopefully preventing some of the absorption of toxins from the intestines. Again, no proof that it helps but it also doesn't harm the patient. It does make a mess, however, so be ready to administer plenty of butt baths!

Maggie Monza BS, LVT's picture

Our best scenario is when the patient will eat its dose in 1/2 can of A/D!!! Score....usually the labbies.