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Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs…A Growing Problem

Not long before COVID 19 hit the United States and changed our world so dramatically, one of our Play All Day families had a scary experience with their dog. Shortly after getting home from daycare, this dog began acting very strange. She was wobbly, her eyes looked strange, and she was making funny patterns with her neck and head. And in between these strange behaviors, she was passed out. Her family was obviously worried and took her to the Emergency Vet Clinic. They diagnosed her with THC toxicity. Yes, I said THC, as in marijuana…as in Pot. After a long and stressful night, they visited their family Veterinarian the next morning and the diagnosis was confirmed. It is a very classic presentation and there was very little doubt that this dog had been exposed to marijuana. It took 48 hours for this girl to start feeling better and back to her normal self.

But how did this happen? Her parents don’t use marijuana. And it happened shortly after she left daycare. When I asked my Veterinarian about the onset of symptoms (how long would it take after ingestion for a dog to show symptoms), she said it varies quite a bit, depending on the size of the dog, the amount ingested, strength of product ingested, etc. But it seems that it would have had to happen at some point during her daycare day. So we scoured the video footage of her playgroup, her transport to and from playgroup and her time in the lobby at checkout. We were looking for her with her head down and eating something off the ground. We did see her pull towards something on the floor in the lobby during checkout and appears to be very interested. Unfortunately, the camera view was partially blocked. But our best guess is that she might have picked up some THC product off of the floor of the lobby.

Regardless of where she ate it, she ate it. And she had a very bad experience for 48 hours and her parents suffered as well. The lesson to learn from this is that THC products are much more available now and the risk of them being available to our dogs is much higher. Dog parks, dog walks, Petsmart, PAD lobby, PAD parking lot, Vet parking lot or lobby….this could happen anywhere that someone drops a THC product. Think about it….all takes is someone pulling their hand out of their pocket and the THC product accidentally comes out along with their hand and falls on the ground. There it is, just waiting for your dog to come along and eat it up.

Now, the world is scary enough with COVID 19 lurking out there. But I know you want to remain informed on issues regarding your dog’s health. Until this incident happened, I was clueless that dogs were so sensitive to THC and I was clueless that the incident rate of THC toxicity in dogs has risen dramatically in the last few years. The good news is that it is not fatal toxicity. But it sure is scary and dogs suffer until it wears off. So now you know this can happen. Knowledge is power.

Here are a few links to more information. One is a Veterinary Clinic’s blog. The other is by Whole Dog Journal and just provides a little more information.
VCA Marijuana Toxicity
Whole Dog Journal Marijuana Toxicity

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