Marijuana Toxicity

Exposure to other sedative drugs can appear similar. Diagnosis is based on history of exposure and clinical signs. Urine testing for THC can be unreliable. Treatment for marijuana toxicity is alleviation of clinical signs. IV fluids correct dehydration, activated charcoal is fed to the pet to bind unabsorbed drug in the intestines, and medications can decrease tremors and stop seizures. Signs of toxicity can show up within 30 minutes, and can last for several days.  In severe cases, hospitalization and close observation is usually needed.

Many pets, especially dogs, find marijuana and products containing marijuana very attractive, and will ingest as much as they can find. If your pet is showing signs of marijuana ingestion, or your pet has been exposed, call Cascade Animal Clinic immediately.

black and white cat looks left
Marijuana plant

With the legalization of marijuana, accidental exposure in pets is on the rise. Pets are more sensitive to the active ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), than humans. The Pet Poison Hotline has reported a 200% increase in calls asking about marijuana and pets over a five-year period. That number will increase. Marijuana is legal in Washington State. At Cascade Animal Clinic we feel that our clients need to know the potential dangers of marijuana toxicity.

Pets can eat marijuana or foods laced with marijuana.  A very small amount will make make a cat or dog sick. In a recent case, a small dog was sickened by pipe residue tracked into the house and deposited on the carpet.

THC affects the chemical mediators in the brain. Signs can include: depression, wobbly gait, dilated pupils, vomiting, tremors, slow heart rate, urine leakage and a characteristic startle reflex. The pet appears drowsy, starts to fall over and catches his balance. Signs can progress to seizures, coma, and in extreme cases, death.

yellow puppy looking sad