As the number of people being prescribed medicinal marijuana increases, so has the number of pets requiring treatment for ingesting the drug, some of which have died of overdose.
As reported by Digital Journal last month, recent studies have shown that a compound in marijuana has shown to stop cancer. As this and other research becomes available, more people are turning to the "alternative" treatment. Some of those people appear to believe that if the drug is beneficial for humans it would also be beneficial for their pets. Vets are saying that is not the case however, and that marijuana can actually be harmful and sometimes toxic for dogs.
Colorado veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt told WTSP News: "They basically have lost a lot of their fine motor control, they have a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet. There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it's become legal."
Colorado is one of 17 states that allow the sale of medicinal marijuana.
A Daily Mail report states that two dogs in Colorado have died after eating food containing marijuana butter which seems to be more toxic. Labradors are most at risk, according to animal experts, because 'they'll eat anything'.
According to PetEducation.com, the concentration of THC and the form of marijuana ingested plays a large role in whether the ingestion of marijuana is fatal for pets.
Symptoms of pot toxicity in pets include: ataxia, dilated pupils, 'glazed' eyes, drop in body temperature, increase or decrease in heart rate, bizarre behavior, hyperesthesia, disorientation, somnolence, depression (may last 18-36 hours), coma, excitation is seen occasionally, drooling, tremors, respiratory depression, or death.
Colorado’s Wheat Ridge Clinic veterinarian, Dr. Stacy Meola, told New York Daily News she has seen two dogs die when they got into baked goods made with marijuana butter. Many of the medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado sell baked goods containing marijuana.
Death is a rare occurrence however. Most dogs end up showing symptoms such as staggering, acting lethargic, vomiting, and being overly sensitive to sound and light, although some may fall into a coma. After treatment most are back to normal within 24 hours according to the WTSP report.
Dr. Meola stated: "I just want dogs, kids to be safe. It needs to be treated like any other drug. If you came home with a prescription of vicodin from your doctor you wouldn't just leave it sitting there."
PetEducation.com states if you suspect your pet has ingested marijuana, induce vomiting and take the pet to a veterinary clinic immediately.