Cannabis is toxic to your pets and if it is in your home you need to take the proper precautions to avoid exposing your pet to it. In this field we have seen a rise of cannabis toxicity over the years as it becomes more accessible to people. We see both cats and dogs who have accidentally ingested, or have been exposed to an excessive amount of second hand smoke. Don’t just assume they won’t eat it. Even something as minimal as the butt of a marijuana cigarette can cause toxicity to our pets.
Today marijuana can come in several different forms -dried leaves, oils, waxes, a vape, or even in an edible treat i.e.brownies ,cookies. If you think your animal has ingested cannabis of any variety or you’ve seen your animal ingest even a tiny amount you need to call your veterinarian. While you may be worried to tell us that your animal has potentially ingested cannabis of any kind we urge you to be up front and honest. Your pets treatment and well being is our number one concern not whether you like to indulge in “weed” every now and then …no judgement here! Clinical signs you may see are lethargy, ataxia (stumbling while walking), twitching, hypersensitivity, incontinence, vomiting, and in severe cases seizures.
When it comes to edibles time is of the essence. THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that gives you a “high” effect. The THC content in edibles has a much higher concentration making this one of the most dangerous forms of marijuana for our pets to ingest. It is also extremely important to know all of the ingredients in the treat itself. There have been cases reported where the animal had to be treated for a couple of different toxicities at once. For instance if the edible had been made with additional ingredient(s) such as - Xylitol (an artificial sweetener), raisins, chocolate, or even some macadamia nuts this is all important information we need to know so we can effectively treat your pet.
Fortunately there are treatment options available and more often than not our friends recover just fine if they are treated promptly. Pets who have ingested marijuana or have been exposed to an excessive amount of second hand smoke generally need to be admitted to the hospital. You can see your primary veterinarian if they are open and available to treat your pet or you need to take them to an emergency facility that is open 24hrs. We need to treat the symptoms your pet is exhibiting and provide supportive therapy based on each individual case.
There are cases where our patient may need one or a combination of the following: oxygen, sedation, IV fluids, a muscle relaxant or IV Lipid Emulsion (IVLE). IVLE is a fancy way of saying we are giving IV fats to your animal. THC is highly lipid (fat) soluble so by giving IV lipids it will guide the toxin through the body to an organ that can eliminate them. THC is primarily eliminated through urine and feces. THC causes our animals to exhibit neurological symptoms that can range from moderate to severe. Muscle relaxers can be used to treat muscle tremors that your pet is experiencing, which if left uncontrolled can cause temperatures to elevate. We can see significant hypersensitivity where the animals can experience light sensitivity, sensitivity to sound and touch and may be very vocal. In situations like that we will add in a sedative to help relax them and control some of the symptoms. In extreme cases of hypersensitivity we may need to put them in an oxygen chamber if they are hyperventilating and have low oxygen levels.
Treatment plans vary from patient to patient depending on their needs. If we are able to treat sooner rather than later and know what we are dealing with then we can provide the appropriate therapy(s).Our goal would be to keep symptoms from escalating further and keep our patient calm, happy, and healthy.
You can also contact https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control at 1-888-426-4435