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Jan 16 2014

Marijuana Ingestion by Pets

The American Veterinary Medical Association recently posted a link to the article below concerning the rise of reported marijuana toxicities in our pets. I personally have experienced similar rise marijuana toxicities in dogs during my time as an emergency veterinarian.

As seen in this link, toxicity is unlikely to be fatal, but can cause severe symptoms. Typically, a pet may present to a clinic with wobbliness, weakness, dribbling urine, and seems to startle easily. With more severe toxicity, pets may be semi-comatose, “shocky”, or exhibit seizure activity. Quantifying the amount of marijuana ingested is often difficult. Smaller dogs tend to have more profound symptoms simply because of their stature.

Often a pet owner does not realize or suspect their pet ingested anything abnormal, until the question is asked by the veterinary professional. We also experience reluctance to inform us that marijuana ingestion is possible, for fear of condemnation. We are not here to judge, but to help discern the cause of your pet’s symptoms and provide the necessary treatment or advice for your pet. We don’t care whether you own the marijuana, or someone else. It is also a relief in many cases that marijuana is suspected to be the problem. As an aside, I have seen parents discover their children’s marijuana use due to toxicity in their pet.

Another consideration is that often marijuana is not the only toxin ingested. Marijuana can be used in baked goods that contain chocolate, xylitol (a sugar substitute), or raisins. All of which can cause toxicity in different ways. Additionally, it is not uncommon to have a pet present for symptoms, thought to be due to marijuana, to find out another recreational drug or toxin is the culprit. If any toxicity is suspected, contact Priceless Pet Clinic in Normandy Park at (206) 592-6454 for advice.

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