Society

Washington Vets See Spike In Dogs Ingesting Marijuana Since Recreational Marijuana Legalized

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Veterinarians in Washington state are blaming the legalization of recreational marijuana for the rise in cases of canines ingesting marijuana.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Washington state in early January.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in cannabis can be toxic to dogs. 

"It can trigger seizures, coma, or even death," Dr. Nathanial Stewart of VCA Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital in Tacoma told USA Today.

A lethal pot dose in dogs is 3 grams per kilogram of animal weight. If treated early, THC poisoning can be reversed.

"A busy week, I've seen 10 to 12 cases," Stewart said. "I saw a beagle once that ate an entire Ziploc baggie full of marijuana buds."

Some of the animals are eating marijuana-infused foods.

"Any infused product should be treated as a medicine, not as a baked good to be hanging around," said Stephanie Viskovich, owner of Delta 9 nonprofit marijuana collective in Seattle. “Make sure that kids who love cookies know these aren't their snacks, too.”

Many dogs, especially puppies, will eat anything they find.

A 14-week-old dachshund-terrier mix was admitted to a Seattle clinic last week. She was "lying in her own vomit, shaking," said her owner, Aleah Helmbrecht. "Her eyes were bright red. ... She was wobbly and couldn't stand up right."

“[You could] also smell from her breath that it smelled like marijuana," said Dr. Ruby Donnaway. "There are weeks where we're pretty much seeing it every single night."

Dogs are most often those treated for marijuana poisoning, but cats have been treated, too.

Donnaway says the number of animals coming in her clinic for pot ingestion has doubled since last year. 

Sources: UPI, USA Today