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Yaletown vet warns of increased cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs locally

Plus what to do if you suspect your pup has consumed cannabis.

Would you know how to spot if your pup has accidentally eaten marijuana? As the number of cases of dogs suffering from marijuana toxicity increase in Vancouver, a Yaletown vet is warning dog owners of the signs to look out for if they suspect their pup has ingested cannabis.

From appearing a little off or 'out of it', to more severe symptoms like being unable to walk or losing bladder control, Dr. Karley Little from Yaletown Pet Hospital explains how even a small amount of cannabis eaten can show clinical symptoms, and why it's important not to ignore any of them.

"If you suspect your dog has consumed cannabis, you should take them into your primary vet or an emergency clinic right away," explains Dr. Seagrist. "There are urine drug screening tests that can be used to try to confirm the suspicion, which helps lead to prompt and appropriate supportive care and treatment."

Whether it's at a dog park, on a sidewalk, or even in an owner's home, marijuana intoxication can occur quickly and easily which is why looking out for symptoms is so important.

"It can happen if a dog eats cannabis directly, consumes edibles such as baked goods, capsules, oils or tinctures, or even human faeces after their own consumption, which can be seen in situations such as camping or hiking," Dr. Little tells OhMyDog!.

What to look out for

Although it varies from dog to dog, if a dog has consumed cannabis in the mildest form, they are going to seem a little off to their owners, with Dr. Little suggesting that this could be "walking like they're drunk, seeming more 'out of it', and sometimes more reactive to noise or light stimuli."

In more severe cases however, pups may not be able to stand or walk, may be heavily sedated, unable to control their bladder, have neurological problems or can even go into a coma.

If your pup is displaying any of these symptoms, Dr. Little recommends taking them to your vet or emergency clinic straight away for the best chance of a full recovery.

"If they have recently ingested it, we can make them vomit and administer activated charcoal to help bind any residual toxin in their gut, before it can enter the bloodstream."

"For severe cases, your pet may require hospitalization to monitor their vital signs and supportive IV fluid therapy. Overall, the prognosis is typically good, even for severe cases, if treated promptly."

Increases in cases in homes and public spaces

OhMyDog! recently shared the concerns of a Vancouver dog owner whose 3-year-old Caviller King Charles Spaniel had ingested cannabis around the Queen Elizabeth Park area - the third time in 6 months that the pup suffered the toxic effects of THC. The worrying affects can be seen in a video shared on the pup's Instagram account, and according to Dr. Little from Yaletown Pet Hospital, cases like this aren't unusual.

"We have seen an increase in the number of dogs that have consumed cannabis and cannabis products in their owner's homes or public spaces," explains Dr. Little.

"With new edible products, they are more potent and often more harmful to an animal. Another important consideration is if people are choosing to administer a CBD product to their dog, they must ensure that it contains no THC, due to their highly sensitive nature, and I would recommend discussing it with your veterinarian before administering to your pet."


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