Oops, My Pet Ate Pot!

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Medical and recreational use of Marijuana in humans is common these days, making it all too accessible to our pets. It begs the question, should we be using marijuana therapeutically in our veterinary patients? The answer is no.

Marijuana in pets does not have a therapeutic dose at this time and can easily cause toxicity. We cannot tell you how much to use without causing toxicity, so it could end up causing another problem while we were trying to fix the first one.

Marijuana toxicity can be easily treated if we know that’s what the pet got into, so it is very important to let your veterinarian know if you know your dog or cat ate marijuana or a snack with marijuana in it.

Diagnosing the toxicity is done on clinical sings and/or the client’s information that their pet has ingested the toxin. The toxicity can worsen if the pet has eaten marijuana in a chocolatey snack. Now this patient has potentially 2 toxicities to treat and Marijuana is also a potent anti-vomiting drug so making the pet vomit it up is not always a feasible option.

Patients often present in a somewhat sedated state and can be easily agitated.  Other signs of toxicity can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling
  • Stumbling
  • Urine dribbling
  • Profound sedation

If we suspect or know that your pet got into Marijuana, your veterinarian can provide them with supportive care, IV fluids and time, however without treatment it can be very serious and even fatal for your pet. There is no antidote to this toxicity. Patients can recover in a matter of hours to days, depending on the amount ingested and if there was anything else ingested with it.

Don’t be afraid to tell your veterinarian what your pet ate, it could help save Fido or Fluffy and save you unnecessary tests performed on your pet.

To hear more on marijuana ingestion in pets, you can check out Dr. Morris on CBC Fresh Air 

My Dog is Heatworm Positive, Now What?

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Heartworm tests have begun for the season. We always hope when the results come in not come across one that is positive, but sadly, sometimes we do. So what exactly does it mean if your dog is heartworm positive?

If your dog’s annual heartworm test comes back positive it means that your dog became infected with heartworm in the previous warm season. Your dog was bitten by a mosquito who picked up heartworm from a heartworm positive dog and transmitted it to your dog. Your dog now is heartworm positive and requires treatment by your veterinarian.

Treatment for heartworm includes oral pre-treatment prior to the actual injectable treatment. This pre-treatment helps to decrease the chances of reactions.  Following is a series of intra-muscular injections administered by your veterinarian. This injection is the drug that kills the worms. The drug used to treat heartworm is not readily available and is very expensive. Treatment for heartworm can be very painful for the patient and patients may need to be hospitalized at any time during the treatment. There can be reactions to the drug, reactions to the worms dying along with complications of the worms dying, stroke, pain at the injection site and most terribly, death.

Once treatment has started, strict rest is essential, no running, no jumping, no playing. The recovery can be further complicated and detrimental to the dog’s health if proper rest regime is not followed.

Treatment for heartworm can be expensive and on average ranges from $800-1000 if uncomplicated. This cost would be equivalent to providing heartworm prevention for your dog for 13 years.

This is why we recommend to prevent rather than treat. Prevention is safer, easier and more cost effective than having to treat your dog for heartworm.

If you have any questions about heartworm or need to schedule your dog in for their annual heartworm test, please call us at 416-767-5817