With the legalization and easy accessibility to Marijuana, an increase in accidental exposure in our pets has been seen. Cannabis contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid with strong psychoactive effects in both humans and animals and can be highly toxic to our pets.
Our pets can become intoxicated by marijuana in numerous ways including inhaling via second-hand smoke, eating edibles, or ingesting it directly or in any other form. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than humans do and therefore the effects are more dramatic and potentially more toxic. A small amount can cause toxicity in dogs and cats. There is no official safe level of exposure as just a small amount may affect one pet more than another.
Signs of marijuana exposure in our pets include being wobbly and uncoordinated, hyperactive, disoriented, and more vocal than usual. As well; drooling, vomiting, and urinary incontinence can occur. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, and coma can result.
Marijuana intoxication is usually treated firstly by getting it out of the body system. If it is was ingested shortly beforehand (usually within an hour) the veterinarian may induce vomiting. Supportive care is then performed, including IV fluids, monitoring, anti-anxiety medications to minimize agitation, and confinement in a safe place.
The bottom line is to BE CAREFUL. We all want what is best for our pets, and their safety is key.
If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested cannabis, please contact us, or your nearest veterinary emergency hospital, as soon as possible.
Written by: Briarwood Animal Hospital