The Real Problem With Marijuana Poisoning in Pets
Every year, animals become extremely ill or even die from marijuana poisoning.
In some cases, owners who do not realize the danger allow pets to eat food laced with marijuana or remain in the room while it is smoked. In other cases, animals accidentally ingest the drug when they discover a quantity of the plant, especially if it is baked in cookies or brownies.
At Crossroads Animal Emergency, we see a number of cases of animal toxicity each year. Recently, marijuana has become a more common cause of poisoning. The real problem, however, is that some owners are reluctant to tell us when they bring the animal in that it could have been exposed to cannabis. It is vital that we have this information, particularly when the animal first arrives and we are deciding on the proper treatment. The sooner we know what is wrong with your pet, the sooner we can begin life-saving treatment.
How to Spot Marijuana Poisoning
Many cases of marijuana poisoning are clear: an owner finds an animal ingesting a quantity of marijuana, often in food form, or knows the animal was in the room when marijuana was being smoked. However, if you are unsure if your pet has been exposed to marijuana, here are some signs to look for. The following signs may appear within 5 minutes up to 96 hours of the animal being exposed to the drug:
- Glassy eyes and dilated pupils. Cannabis has an effect on the animal’s appearance; often, a “sleepy” look will indicate ingestion of this drug.
- Lethargy and drowsiness. Some animals will become extremely sleepy after ingesting or inhaling marijuana.
- Hypersensitivity to stimuli. While some animals become sleepy, others become hypersensitive and may seem to be wild or excited.
- Loss of bladder control. Many animals who have ingested marijuana will begin to “dribble” urine a short time later as they lose control of bladder muscles.
- Stumbling. Animals exposed to marijuana may lose the ability to walk and begin to stumble or even fall.
- omiting. Many animals will try to vomit a substance that is poisoning them. If the animal vomits, be sure that its airway is kept clear. Do not induce vomiting, as this may result in choking.
- Seizures. The danger of seizure and coma is particularly serious for small animals. Any animal that is having a seizure should receive immediate professional medical attention.
The most important thing to remember when your pet may have ingested a dangerous substance is that you should get your pet to an emergency vet immediately and give him or her as much accurate information as possible. At Crossroads Animal Emergency, we are here to help. Call us immediately if your pet ingests any dangerous substance.