So Your Pet Ate Your Pot... Now What?
What you need to know about Marijuana toxicity and your pet... Read More !
Now that recreational use of marijuana has become legal in Canada, the number of marijuana cases that are seen by poison control hotlines is sure to increase.
Here is what you need to know about marijuana ingestion in pets.
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa/Cannabis indica) is used for recreational purposes and for medicinal purposes. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two most commonly recognized, used, and studied cannabinoids.
The difference between the two is that THC causes psychotropic effects (affects mental state) and has a moderate level of toxicity, while CBD is non-psychotropic and is thought by many researchers to be non-toxic or to be of limited toxicity.
The exact amount of each cannabinoid will vary greatly between strains and from plant to plant. If your pet gets into it, you can never be sure how it will affect them.
Animals can be poisoned by marijuana in a variety of different ways as they have a higher sensitivity to cannaboids than humans.
Pets can be exposed by ingesting marijuana edibles (candies, baked goods like brownies and cookies or pot butter), the owner’s supply of marijuana, or by second hand smoke.
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Signs of toxicity can be seen anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours after the pet has been exposed/ingested the marijuana. The signs can potentially last 30 minutes to several days depending on the dose/amount ingested.
Common symptoms of marijuana toxicity can include:
Since we do not have an antidote to reverse the effects of marijuana, veterinarians can only provide supportive care to help the pet through the clinical signs they are experiencing.
We can induce vomiting if the ingestion was fairly recent from the time you call us to help prevent the absorption leading to the various possible side effects.
Veterinarians can regulate the body temperature of your pet to ensure they aren’t too hot or cold and give IV fluids to help maintain their hydration.
If it is too late to induce vomiting up the product eaten, we can administer anti-vomiting medication to help stop fluid loss and closely monitor the animal’s heart rate to ensure that it is stable.
The clinic staff can help keep the pet comfortable and confined so they won’t be injured as a result of having trouble walking around.
In a lot of cases, we may give activated charcoal. This is a black liquid that the animal drinks or is given orally. It is used to help bind the toxin in the stomach or intestines to the charcoal and prevent absorption or further absorption into the body.
Who do you call when your pet may have swallowed something toxic ?
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Most often the cases we see are dogs who have sniffed their way into trouble.... cats generally are not interested in eating brownies or cookies infused with marijuana.... they may however get into marijuana infused butter.
Sometimes we might have difficulty diagnosing and treating marijuana cases because the owner may not be aware of what they got into on a walk or if a family member has a hidden supply the rest of the family doesn't know about.
This leads to an incomplete history or sometimes due to drug use stigma, the owners may be unwilling to "come clean” for fear of being reported or judged. We are a judge free zone. We want to reassure owners that the clinic is only interested in providing appropriate medical care for their pet.
In order for us to begin immediate treatment it is important for us to get a complete history. A complete medical history is important so that only necessary treatments and diagnostics are provided which will prevent unnecessary treatments and costs to the owner. In cases where the owner is unsure if marijuana exposure was the cause, we do have a urine test that can identify what drug (out of 7 different ones) influence the pet might be under.
Most pets do well with supportive care, but with large ingestions of marijuana the side effects can be dangerous.
Some tips for helping prevent toxicity include:
-placing marijuana edibles well out of reach of the pet in closed high cabinets or in a locked drawer when not in use
-store products in an airtight sealed container
-keep edibles in the fridge or freezer
-if marijuana is being smoked, the pet should be kept in a separate area with good ventilation or outside ,weather permitting until the smoke has cleared
This will help prevent many of the marijuana poisonings from occurring.
In humans, medical marijuana may be prescribed for medical reasons however pet owners should know that we as veterinarians cannot legally prescribe medical marijuana for their pets.
If your pet has gotten into marijuana don't delay, call your veterinarian or Poison Helpline for advice.
We are here to help your pet recover and feel better as soon as possible.
When Your Pet Needs Medical Care - We Are Open 7 Days A Week
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We are open 7 days a week with extensive hours should you find yourself dealing with a pet emergency. Give us a call any time 519-624-9760. We are happy to help.