Vet warns pet owners, especially dog owners, about marijuana poisoning
Rachel Kelly, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, June 14, 2018 5:43PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 14, 2018 5:45PM EDT
With the marijuana legalization bill still being passed back and forth between the federal government and Senate – but seemingly close to getting passed -- one veterinarian is warning pet owners about the drug’s effect on animals.
On May 26, Ontario woman Chelsea Schoof was on a camping trip in Massassauga Provincial Park with her husband and their two dogs when her eight-month-old puppy stumbled over.
Schoof posted on Facebook that the dog’s eyes were “squinting and hazy,” that he was “dribbling urine and whining” and that his whole body was shaking. Schoof wrote that she rushed him to the nearest vet only to discover that the dog was suffering from marijuana poisoning.
“The vet said she has been seeing at least 1 case per week of this, that’s why she could recognize his symptoms right away,” Schoof said in her Facebook post.
“She said it has happened at campsites and public parks, etc. She said she has even seen cases where dogs have eaten a Qtip that was used to clean a bong and the dog had these symptoms.”
Vets say they're seeing more and more cases of animals being poisoned through ingesting marijuana products -- or through second-hand smoke.
“They are more sensitive and they have more cannabinoid receptors, that’s what’s speculated,” veterinary medical expert Dr. Rebecca Greenstein told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday.
Some symptoms of marijuana toxicity include lethargy, dilated pupils or glassy eyes, difficulty walking, vomiting, an abnormal heart rate, whining or crying, tremors, seizures, and potentially comas.
Generally, the cases are mild, but as more potent cannabis products increase in popularity, some can turn serious. A 2012 study from Colorado reported two cases of dogs dying after ingesting THC butter. The same study also found a statistically significant connection between the number of medical marijuana licences issued and the number for marijuana toxicosis cases that animal hospitals are seeing, indicating medical marijuana, could be a key cause.
Greenstein says it is most common in dogs because they are naturally more curious and likely to ingest cannabis that they find. Not all cases are accidents, though.
“Sometimes there are reports of intentional toxicoses where someone will actually blow smoke in their face,” Greenstein said.
The Senate is currently reviewing changes the federal government has made to Bill C-45. If they accept them all, marijuana could be legal and accessible in matter of weeks
Schoof says that her dog did return to normal within two days, but she wants pet owners to be cautious. “With marijuana being legalized, it will only get more common from here,” Schoof said in her Facebook post.