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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