Randolph Animal Hospital

Vermont Animal Hospital Shares Facts on Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

Randolph Animal Hospital shares important information on the effects of marijuana in pets, and how to treat pets who’ve ingested marijuana or marijuana-derived substances


Randolph, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/04/2014 --Randolph Animal Hospital in Vermont is sharing new information regarding the toxicity of marijuana when ingested by pets. Vets often hear a myriad of questions and misconceptions regarding the effects of marijuana exposure to pets. Marijuana is not a safe or healthy treatment for any of a pet’s perceived or diagnosed conditions. Never should a pet be given marijuana for any type of pain relief. Marijuana’s adverse effects are amplified in pets far beyond what is experienced in the human body. No existing research exists proves that marijuana is a helpful or viable pain relief treatment, or that it has any other beneficial effect in pets. Proper veterinary care and doctors are the source for the correct medications, therapies and treatments needed for a pet’s wellness, or in cases of emergency.

As marijuana begins to become decriminalized and its illicit status decreases in the U.S. and around the world, more pet owners who begin possessing varying amounts of marijuana find their pets have become exposed and often in states of pain, unconsciousness, dizziness, paralysis or even coma after having ingested amounts of the loose drug. The overall toxicity in animals has unfortunately increased as the veterinary field is becoming aware of the more profound effects marijuana has in pets compared to humans. In fact, the Pet Poison Hotline reports that, in a five year phase, operators have experienced a 200% increase in calls concerning marijuana exposure and pets. Signs of marijuana toxicity in pets vary, so owners who possess any amount of the substance should be wary if a pet has or can manage to get access. Marijuana’s active ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) affects the neurotransmitters, which means that signs of toxicity will most commonly be neurological in nature. Some symptoms may include depression, lack of physical coordination, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures and unconsciousness or coma. Some pets may express toxicity by vomiting, extreme salivation, dangerously low blood pressure, or variations in heart rate from very slow to very fast. Fortunately, death is a very rare outcome.

Dogs and cats exposed to marijuana require hospitalization for treatment of toxicity. Vomiting may be induced if ingestion occurred within 30 to 60 minutes of diagnosis, and the animal is awake. Activated charcoal is often also administered. This compound helps to bind the THC to itself, decreasing its absorption into the animal’s body. Intravenous fluids help flush out toxins and maintain healthy blood pressure. Doctors will monitor the animal’s temperature, blood glucose and blood pressure. As most pets will instinctively eat anything they can get their paws on, it’s crucial to keep marijuana and other toxic substances out of their reach. To learn more about pet toxicity care, visit the Randolph Animal Hospital online at http://www.randolphanimalhospital.net.