The Pet Poison Hotline, which takes calls from around the country and Canada, noted a 200 percent increase in reported incidents of poisoning in the past five years. Dr. Lori Green, a critical care veterinarian at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital, says the clinic treats as many as three dogs a week for symptoms of marijuana toxicity: trembling, vomiting and walking troubles.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in marijuana. THC affects dogs differently than humans, and although not usually fatal, THC poisoning requires medical treatment that can include induced vomiting, intravenous fluids or activated charcoal.
Pot's effect different on dogs
A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2012 reported a correlation between the increase in the number of medical marijuana cardholders and the number of dogs getting poisoned. The study found a fourfold increase in cases seen at two Colorado hospitals over six years. All but two dogs - who ate cannabis butter - survived.
If only a small amount of marijuana is consumed, dogs may become listless or depressed. Pot affects dogs differently than it does humans, veterinarians say, because dogs don't have liver enzymes to metabolize tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. At higher doses, marijuana can cause dogs to vomit, lose coordination and bladder control, have tremors, and be nervous and over-reactive. Their body temperature and heart rate may drop.
In extreme cases dogs may suffer seizures or seem unresponsive, but THC poisoning is rarely fatal. Dogs usually recover in 12 to 24 hours, though signs can last up to 72 hours.
View Full Article in:SeattlePI.com