Marijauna Toxicity in Pets

 

The following is a reprint from Promed which is part of International Society for Infectious Diseases.  With increased accetance of medical marijuana, it is important that owners  understand that  it can have a profoundly different affect on their pets than it does on them.

The popularity of medical marijuana in Colorado has had an unintended

side effect .  Dogs are getting stoned, sometimes with deadly results.

Some people firmly believe that if medical marijuana helps people, it

also helps their pets, but that’s not always the case. Marijuana can

be harmful and sometimes toxic for dogs.   New research shows that with

medical marijuana, the number of dogs getting sick from pot is

spiking.

Animals exposed to marijuana demonstrate neurological signs including

depression or alternating depression and excitement, falling

over/incoordination, hallucinations with barking or agitation,

seizures or coma and death. About a third of exposed animals will

demonstrate gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, dry

mouth, or drooling. The body temperature can be high or low, rapid

breathing with a heart rate that may be too rapid or too slow, dilated

pupils, and they may leak urine. These clinical signs can develop

within minutes up to 3 hours after exposure. The drug may be

eliminated quickly (over several hours), but can be absorbed into fat

making signs last for up to 3-4 days.

“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,” said Dr.

Debbie Van Pelt of VRCC, the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency

Hospital in Englewood. Vets say they used to see dogs high on

marijuana just a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up

dogs as many as 5 times a week.

“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in

places where it’s become legal,” Van Pelt said. Colorado is one of

those places.

This is a serious situation for your animal. It is not funny, it is

actually cruel and can be fatal. If a human chooses to get stoned, or

high or use the product for medicinal value, that is the human being’s

choice. Dogs and cats do not think that way and do not understand what

is happening. Dogs are more often intoxicated or at least more often

brought to the veterinarian.

Most of the time veterinarians say dogs get the medical marijuana by

eating their owners food products that are laced with marijuana that

were left out in the open. More and more dispensaries sell those kinds

of products.

“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,” veterinarian Dr.

Stacy Meola said.

Meola is a veterinarian at a Wheat Ridge clinic. She coordinated a

5-year study that shows the number of dogs sickened by marijuana has

quadrupled in Colorado since medical marijuana was legalized. Most

dogs survive, but not all.

“Two dogs, however, got into baked goods with medical grade marijuana

butter in it, which presumably seems to be more toxic to the dogs, so

we did have 2 deaths,” Meola said.

That’s the exception. Most of the time the dogs will end up showing

signs such as staggering, acting lethargic, vomiting, and being overly

sensitive to sound and light. Sometimes they fall into a coma. It’s

the doggie equivalent of a “bad trip.” After treatment most are back

to normal within 24 hours.

While many dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned and

have posted videos of their stoned dogs, Colorado veterinarians say

there’s nothing funny about dogs on dope.

  This is a serious situation for your animal. It is not funny, it is

actually cruel and can be fatal. If a human chooses to get stoned, or

high or use the product for medicinal value, that is the human being’s

choice. Dogs and cats do not think that way and do not understand what

is happening. Dogs are more often intoxicated or at least more often

brought to the veterinarian.

“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially

fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.

Veterinarians say frequently when the sick dogs come in, their owners

are reluctant to admit medical marijuana might have been the cause.

They say if that’s a possible factor, tell the vet right away and they

can more quickly treat the dog.

It is important to get your pet treated as the clinical signs can be

Life-threatening and pets can and die from this substance.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

 

A rose may be a rose by any other name but a cough…well a cough can be a lot of things.  Kennel Cough, Infectious Tracheobronchitis, Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease are all terms that are used interchangeably for CIRDC.  Do dogs with CIRDC always cough? Well… they frequently cough but not always. They may sneeze, have discharge from the eyes and nose, develop pneumonia or not show any signs at all. Some dogs may cough so hard that owners may confuse it with vomiting.  If you’re not sure watch this link. The causes of CIRDC are many and complicated and there are always new pathogens emerging.  Finally, CIRDC can be caused by more than one infectious agent.

Listed below are some of the pathogens that have been identified as major players in CIRDC.

 Currently identified viral agents include:

  • Parainfluenza virus  (vaccine available)
  • Adenovirus (vaccine available)
  • Canine respiratory corona virus
  • Canine herpes virus
  • Canine distemper virus (vaccine available)
  • Canine influenza virus (vaccine available)

 

Currently identified bacterial and other agents include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (vaccine available)
  • Mycoplasma spp.
  • Streptococcus equi and zooepidemicus

 

Viruses and other infectious agents have been around for a long time and are highly successful organisms.  They spread easily and are frequently shed before any outward signs are evident. Once established in the respiratory tract secondary infection by other agents may also occur.  If that’s not enough, certain species can actually help each other infect your pet.  While vaccines are important in preventing CIRDC they unfortunately do not cover every pathogen that can cause disease.

When you think of CIRDC think of the colds your kids pick up at school and daycare. They can be spread by air and by physical contact. Interaction with other animals, stress, individual immune status, age, vaccine status and other factors can all play a role in development of CIRDC.

What’s the best way to manage CIRDC?  Most animals do best at home. If your dog begins coughing, call your veterinarian.  Coughing may be quite dramatic but in most cases it is self limiting. However, like a cold it can take a long time for symptoms to resolve on their own.   Each case is different and medications may be prescribed. Severe cases can cause pneumonia so any pet that appears to be in respiratory distress or is very lethargic should go to the clinic.  Once on the mend, please, don’t expose your dog to any other animals for a minimum of 7 days after all medication is finished and no symptoms are present.