Keep marijuana away from pets, local veterinarians warn
As legalization of marijuana nears in Canada, local veterinarians are warning people to keep pot away from pets.
Vets at the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine say they’ve seen an uptick in the number of marijuana-related cases in dogs. One vet said treating canines for marijuana ingestion used to be a rarity, and now he said he sees about one to two suspected cases a week.
Doctors say if your dog does ingest marijuana, it’s extremely important to disclose that information.
“There are definitely owners that are fairly reluctant to tell you because they’re afraid of potential criminal repercussions,” said Dr. Elizabeth Snead, a small animal internal medicine specialist at the college. “But it’s really important – we’re not looking to report you to the police. We’re looking to know what’s wrong with your dog and make sure that we get the appropriate treatment given to the dog as quickly as possible.”
Dr. Snead said symptoms are similar to what people experience after consuming pot: dilated pupils, sleepiness, lethargy. But she said those symptoms also mimic ingestion of other toxic chemicals such as ethylene glycol, better known as antifreeze. Treatments of the two drugs are vastly different.
“So it’s important that they’re honest, because we really have no good tests, unlike for ethylene glycol we actually have some tests in dogs where we can actually measure it. We really don’t have anything like that for marijuana, so being able to do it quickly and know exactly what we’re treating is really important.”
Dr. Snead said the best action is prevention, by keeping pot products high and out of reach of pets.