As medical marijuana grows in popularity, so too does the chance that the dog is going to get into it.
It’s always been something that happens – dogs have been chowing down on their owner’s illegal stashes for decades, sometimes with fatal results.
But with the increasing use of medical marijuana, dogs are more likely to both have access to it and be tempted by it. For one thing, it doesn’t have to be hidden anymore. It can be kept in higher quantities. And, increasingly, those taking it for medical reasons are eating it instead of smoking it.
As a result, instead of a well-hidden bag of green leafy buds, dogs must resist the temptation of such things as rice crispy marijuana treats, cannabis oreo cookie cake, medical snickerdoodles and ganja lasagna.
In Colorado, there has been a spike in the number of cases of dogs getting sick from cannabis since medical marijuana was legalized.
Vets say they used to see dogs who had ingested marijuana a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up dogs as many as five times a week, CBS4 in Denver reports.
“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in places where it’s become legal,” veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said.
Most of the time dogs get the medical marijuana by eating food laced with it — either that which their owners have prepared, or pre-laced foods purchased from dispensaries selling the products.
Dr. Stacy Meola, a veterinarian who coordinated a study looking at the numbers, say four times as many dogs have been getting treatment for ingesting marijuana since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
It’s not always fatal, but it can be.
Most dogs survive, experiencing symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, staggering and sensitivity to sound and light.
In addition to accidental cases, veterinarians say some dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned– and even post videos of it.
“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baking, brownies, butter, coma, cookies, cooking, deaths, dispensaries, dog, dogs, eating, fatal, ganja lasagna, grass, health, ill, lethargy, marijuana, medical, medical marijuana, pets, pot, recipes, rice crispy treats, safety, sickness, smoking, snickerdoodles, survival, toxic, treatment, veterinarians, vomiting, warning, weed
A dog owner thinks her 11-year-old Labrador mix, Jack, got sick after accidentally eating marijuana at a Seattle park.
Jack, after being unleashed in Seattle’s Seward Park, wandered off for about three minutes. About three hours later, ”his head was rocking back and forth his eyes were glassy,” said his owner, Jen Nestor.
Nestor thinks her dog must have happened upon some marijuana stashed somewhere in the park greenery, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.
According to his medical records, Jack appeared dizzy and disoriented, was staggering and fell over when trying to sit. He also vomited large amounts of plant material and liquid that smelled like marijuana, his owner said.
Police say the story sounds legit, and point out that a wilderness guide playing hide and seek with kids in Seward Park discovered a duffel bag packed with five and a half pounds of marijuana on April 3.
Jack, after $1,500 in medical bills, has recovered from his May 17 experience.
Marijuana can be toxic to dogs and, depending on a dogs’ size and the amount consumed, ingesting it can send them into a coma.
Dogs getting into their owners’ stashes — be they illegal or medically approved — isn’t really as rare an event as you might think. Figuring there are dogs in 43 million U.S. homes, and people who have smoked marijuana in the past year in 25 million homes, there’s got to a multi-million overlap there.
In parts of Northern California, vets face such cases regularly, with some attending to several zonked-out dogs a week, according to a 2005 Los Angeles Times story.
(Photo: Rocky, a Nebraska drug detection dog, sits atop a large haul in 2007, courtesy Douglas County Sheriff’s Department)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, coma, consumed, dog, dogs, eat, eating, grass, health, ill, marijuana, park, pets, pot, safety, seattle, sick, weed
The patient had been hit by a car and was unconscious.
The note said: “I have two dogs that need to be taken care of. You will need animal control because one of the dogs is a Rottweiler. She is a good girl. Her name is Karma, six years old. The other dog’s name is Jasmine, 10 years old.”
The note also listed three contact names, and had a hand-drawn map showing how to get to his house. It concluded: “Thank you. Someone please take care of my babies.”
The patient’s name was Michael Short, a loner with no family in Memphis. His coma would last for weeks. And as it turned out, the note he scrawled on notebook paper and stuffed in his wallet couldn’t have landed in better hands.
Paramedic Pamey Hunter, 46, an animal lover, worked the nightshift at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
When her shift ended at 7 a.m., Hunter found Short’s home. She was greeted by Karma, the Rottweiler, who barked, snarled and lunged at the chain-link fence. Hunter left, returning a few minutes later with dog treats. At first she tossed them to Karma. Before too long, she had Karma eating out of her hand.
Then she ran out of treats and went to get some more food.
Karma greeted her with a wag of the nubby tail when she returned, let her in, and permitted her to go check on the other dog, Jasmine.
Hunter found the older dog in the hallway. She fed both dogs and promised to return that evening before she went to work.
And that’s exactly what she did — for two months.
She also bought them dog beds, fresh hay for a doghouse and treats, took Jasmine to the vet for an ear infection, and gave her arthritis medicine every day. Hunter checked several times on Short, the 34-year-old man who spent weeks in a coma. It turned out to be his second major head injury, the first occuring when he was hit by a van at age 17. He couldn’t hear her, but Hunter assured him the dogs were being cared for.
When Short awoke from his coma, he asked about his dogs right away, and Hunter told him she’d bring them for a visit.
After Short went home, Hunter stayed in touch, and on Christmas, Short told her that Karma and Jasmine had been shopping and bought her a gift. She stopped by and Short handed her a small wrapped box. Inside was a necklace and a cross.
Hunter said she cared for Short’s dogs because didn’t want to call animal control. That’s what she told Cindy Wolff, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reporter who unearthed this story – the kind we don’t hear about nearly often enough.
“I knew because of the note that these dogs were the most important things to this man,” Hunter explained. “These dogs were all he had in the world and he wasn’t going to lose them if I could help it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angel, animals, care, coma, compassion, dog, dogs, dogsitting, emergency, friend, head injury, help, hospital, humanitarian, humanity, jasmine, karma, loner, memphis, michael short, note, pamey hunter, paramedic, pets, regional medical center, rescue, rottweiler, tennessee, treats, wallet