With all of the recent media attention in regards to the legal, moral, and ethical ramifications of Medical Marijuana, there is one group at risk that many would not think of—-our pets. Medical Marijuana is now legal in 21 states, and marijuana is available in multiple forms, including tablets, oils, cookies, brownies, and other forms. The problem is (especially) dogs get into things, and when they have access to that plate of special cookies or brownies, they don’t eat a weight appropriate amount—they eat as much as they can. Marijuana is considered toxic to pets and causes reactions ranging from depression, staggering, dilated pupils, vomiting, seizures, and in rare cases coma and death.
Animal emergency clinics in states with legalized medical marijuana are seeing cases of toxicity in dogs on nearly a daily basis. We saw our first case at Palmer Animal Hospital this week! Symptoms appears within 30-60 minutes of ingestions and can last upto 3 days. Emergency clinic doctors report that pets commonly present with lethargy, eyes rolled back in their heads, and many are unconscious. Treatment includes induction of vomiting, the use of orally administered activated charcoal to absorb toxins, and supportive care with IV fluids and hospitalization. One of the difficulties in diagnosing marijuana toxicity is that owners are often reluctant to admit what their pet got into! Remember, we are here for your pet—not to tattle on you!
So how do you prevent this problem? It comes down to common sense as with other medications and potentially toxic foods—keep all medications (and medical foods) out of reach of your pet (and children).