MILL VALLEY (CBS SF) — A puppy out on a walk in Mill Valley became one of the latest victim of an increasing trend: pets poisoned after ingesting marijuana.
The Marin Independent Journal reported a woman walking her 3 and 1/2 month old puppy had to take on an emergency trip to the vet after getting home. “As we were walking home, I could tell that something was wrong,” Emily Church told the Marin IJ. “Zoe was dragging her nails on the sidewalk, which was really strange … She literally started falling over. “
The puppy tested positive for marijuana, a diagnosis the IJ said is not uncommon in Marin County in the days around the “pot holiday” known as 4/20.
19 states have followed California’s lead in 1996 to legalize medicinal marijuana use while recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington. The instances of dogs getting cannabis poisoning has increased dramatically as the usage of marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles become more acceptable.
SPCA veterinarian Dr. Lori Green told the San Francisco Chronicle her clinic treats as many as three dogs a week for marijuana toxicity.
UC Davis said its School of Veterinary Medicine treated 27 dogs for marijuana poisoning in 2013, up from just four in 2010, the Chronicle reported.
In Colorado, a five-year study showed marijuana poisoning of dogs quadrupled after medicinal use of marijuana was legalized in 2000.
The Oregonian reported cases in the Pacific Northwest were on the rise last year, and a Scottsdale, Arizona veterinarian told the local CBS affiliate the number of cases there have doubled over the past few years.
Church told the IJ she believes her puppy ate a leftover joint or cannabis treat that fell on the ground in Old Mill Park following a 4/20 gathering the previous weekend.
Symptoms of marijuana intoxication in dogs include some of those seen in humans, such as a dazed look and general lethargy, but since it takes a lot less marijuana to affect dogs, other symptoms can be more severe. Trouble walking, jerky movements, incontinence, vomiting and seizure-like symptoms are hallmarks of severe marijuana poisoning.
People whose dogs show signs of marijuana ingestion are urged to get them to a vet right away.
Veterinarians say poisoning by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis) is rarely fatal, but it could take a couple of days to recover, depending on the severity.