Pet Marijuana Poisoning on the Rise
The legalization of marijuana may very well end up having more positive effects than bad when it's all said and done, but that doesn't mean it won't pose new challenges. One of those is a rise in cases of pet marijuana poisonings.
The Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services clinic in Renton, Washington has seen a sudden increase in such cases.
"We are seeing quite an uptick with marijuana toxicity with mainly dogs, but occasionally cats, and I think it is coinciding with the legalization of marijuana in this state," said Dr. Beth Guerra.
The jump is certainly significant. In 2012, there were 35 cases of pet marijuana poisoning at her clinic. So far they have already broken that mark, and we're only halfway through the year.
While there may be the occasional case where some bonehead thinks it would be cool to push a bong in front of their dog's snout, more often than not it's accidental. Simply put, an inquisitive pet sees a stash of marijuana, a joint, or pot brownie and they eat it.
"I tell people even if you think it's well hidden they'll find it," says Dr. Guerra.
The signs of a stoned pet are usually very apparent. A dog can't keep its balance, are tired, hyper, or have lost control of their bladder.
Pet owners beware: if you do partake in pot use, you not only need to think about keeping it out of reach of your pets, but there's also a hefty price to pay if you don't. Treatment usually costs as much as $300, which may include making the dog throw up and giving it activated charcoal to soak up the toxins.
There are also severe cases of dogs experiencing seizures or severe respiratory depression, which requires more aggressive care and maybe an overnight stay with the veterinary clinic. While rare, fatalities are not out of the question.
Dr. Guerra not only stresses the need to be more aware of what your dogs can get into, but also be honest with your vet if they do get into your pot. It may be a little embarrassing to admit, but if you want the best care for your animal, the vet needs to know exactly what happened.
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