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Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

drowsydogIf your pet has gotten into some marijuana or marijuana-laced products, don’t wait for their symptoms to start. Immediate treatment could make all the difference for your pet. If your pet has the symptoms of cannabis poisoning and there is a chance he could have ingested marijuana, he needs treatment.

Just 30 minutes after ingestion, the anti-nausea effects of the cannabis make it more difficult to induce vomiting, and if the animal is lethargic, vomiting may lead to aspiration with further complications. Immediate treatment is essential.

Symptoms

  • Anxious panting and agitation often occur after a pet is exposed to marijuana.
  • In some pets, marijuana toxicity can result in extreme lethargy and laziness that borders on making the pet unconscious.
  • Pets suffering from marijuana intoxication often show impaired balance.  They may stagger, fall and potentially injure themselves while attempting to walk.
  • Drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur.
  • After exposure to marijuana, pets may lose bowel and bladder control. This results in house soiling (cats and dogs).
  • Extreme responses to noises, movements, and other forms of sensory stimulation may occur in pets that are exposed to marijuana.  These responses can manifest as trembling or jerking of the head or extremities.  In severe cases, the responses may appear similar to seizures.

Be honest with the veterinarian about what you think is the cause. Vets are not obligated to report accidental marijuana poisoning and providing misleading information about your pet’s situation will only delay your pet’s treatment. It also may save you the expense of further testing. The symptoms of marijuana intoxication are similar to those of several more serious syndromes.  If the veterinarian treating your pet is not aware of marijuana exposure, he or she is likely to recommend a number of more expensive tests and treatments that may not be necessary.

TREATMENT

The main treatment for marijuana toxicity is to give the animal activated charcoal orally. The activated charcoal traps toxins as it goes through the digestive system.

Secondary treatment includes supportive care like keeping the pet warm, minimizing sensory stimuli and if she has vomited or had diarrhea, giving fluids. If you discover the marijuana ingestion right away, take your pet to a veterinarian, who can induce vomiting to prevent poisoning and stop your pet from going through the effects of cannabis toxicity.

If you believe your pet is experiencing marijuana toxicity, call our 24 Hour Animal Hospital at 321-725-5365.

Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center of Brevard  | 2281 W. Eau Gallie Blvd | Melbourne, FL 32935