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Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

by Dr. Jasmine M. Nolan

One of the most recent common toxicities seen over the years is Marijuana Toxicity. This occurs after a pet has ingested a certain amount of marijuana whether in raw form or cooked/infused. Keep in mind, most pets pick the substance up on walks or by getting into things at home! Mild intoxications can occur from second-hand smoke. Each pet responds to the substance differently.

Toxicity usually occurs within 30 minutes to a few hours after ingestion and can last anywhere from 18-24 hours for most pets before they start to improve with treatment. In severe cases it can take up to 72 hours. The pet parent may see clinical signs in their pet such as:

  • Lethargy/depression and Disorientation
  • Urine dribbling
  • Drooling or vomiting
  • Difficulty walking or stumbling
  • Hyperesthesia (easily startled, sensitive to touch, sight and sound)
  • Tremors
  • Vocalization or Agitation
  • Seizures

In hospital, your veterinarian may detect a low heart rate, fluctuations in temperature and blood pressure. No matter the signs, your pet should be evaluated as soon as it is recognized that they have ingested the substance. Sometimes emesis and an absorbent can help slow down progression of clinical signs. In some cases, pets have clinical signs so severe that hospitalization is recommended to avoid more serious side effects such as coma or death.

No matter how much was ingested, seek out your nearest veterinarian for care if you see or suspect your pet has ingested marijuana.

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