Protect your fur babies! The biggest risk comes from pets ingesting edibles


As marijuana restrictions ease and access becomes more widespread, we’ve seen a number of warnings about unintended consequences, especially inadvertent exposure among children.

But kids aren’t the only ones at risk. A new study from the University of Guelph in Canada found a significant rise in reports of cannabis poisonings among household pets in the past few years.

Researchers from the Ontario Veterinary College surveyed 251 vets in Canada, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2018, and the U.S., where it’s now legal in 18 states.

Vets reported a rise in exposures since 2018, most commonly among dogs, although cats, iguanas, ferrets, horses and even cockatoos were also affected. The biggest risk came from pets ingesting edibles, which are often packaged with chocolate and other ingredients appealing and dangerous to animals. Some of the pets encountered cannabis in discarded joints, and compost. Symptoms included incontinence, disorientation, loss of coordination and hypersensitivity to light and touch.

Khokhar plans a study on how cats metabolize cannabis, the results of which may be applicable to small children as well as pets.

Most pets that consumed cannabis recovered within 24 hours with monitoring or moderate treatment, the study found, but vets did report a small number of deaths. Lead author Jibran Khokhar, PhD, noted the difficulty in assessing cannabis toxicosis across pets that range widely in size, weight and species; and research on the subject so far is scanty. He said the fatalities “could be related to other additives like chocolate or xylitol that might have been in the cannabis edible. … If the pets are consuming an edible, you have to be concerned about both the cannabis in it, [and] also those other ingredients.”

The most common symptoms in pets exposed to cannabis included disorientation, lethargy, abnormal or uncoordinated movements such as swaying, lowered heart rate and urinary incontinence. Protect our pets!


(Source: Treatment Magazine By Mark Mravic)