Animal Hospital News

Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

posted by Dr. Deb on August 1st, 2013 in Cats, Dogs

“Medical” marijuana laws are resulting in more pets getting stoned.  It doesn’t take much to send them on a trip that last hours to days!  Most pets that get seriously stoned have eaten their owner’s marijuana “edibles”.  Canabutter, a THC infused butter, frequently used to make chocolate (and other) baked goods is reportedly more intense and “often lasts 4 times longer than a traditional buzz.” (http://www.cannabutter.co.uk/)   The potent canabis, in conjunction with the chocolate makes for a dangerous combination.

Signs of Marijuana Toxicity

Depression, hypersalivation, enlarged pupils, abnormal gait, vomiting, leaking urine, tremors, depressed body temperature, and slow heart rate

 Higher dosages may additionally cause nystagmus, agitation, inability to walk, hyperexcitability, seizures, coma. *Stoned pets that are vomiting can aspirate the vomit  leading to potentially fatal aspiration pneumonia!

Recovery

Most pets recover from marijuana intoxication.

When to get to the Vet!

Being stoned becomes dangerous when a pet:

  • Can’t walk
  • Can’t sit up without falling over
  • Is vomiting
  • Is hypersalivating and not swallowing the saliva
  • Is hyperactive or agitated
  • Is stuporous, not responsive to stimulation

** As with any poisoning, TELL your vet what your pet got into!  (I promise, even if you don’t live in a state where marijuana has been legalized, they won’t call the cops!)  The faster you solve the mystery for them, the sooner they can start treating your pet!

Treatment

Treatment for marijuana intoxication usually includes at least a day stay in the hospital for IV fluids (by the time these patients come in they are often dehydrated.  If not now, they will become dehydrated during the day because they don’t / can’t/ shouldn’t drink while severely stoned).  Medication for vomiting is often needed to protect them from aspiration.  Patients with more severe signs of hyperexcitability may need sedatives to prevent them from hurting themselves.  (I once watched a dog spin off all 5 walls of his cage for 2 hours – before we found out later what the problem was!)

Prevention

Keep the product: greens, edibles, patches, roaches, pipe water, etc away from pets!

Remember to take the garbage out if there is any marijuana-laced product in the garbage!

Keep canabutter in the ‘fridge and the utensils used to make it/ spread it/ measure it directly in the dish washer or washed (cats LOVE butter!)

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