The use of marijuana has increased over the last several years as many states (currently 21) legalize its use. Veterinarians are also seeing an increase in marijuana intoxication in dogs, generally from ingestion. When users compound the drug with oil or butter (such as with baking), the toxicity and the risk of pets getting into it also increases.
Signs of Marijuana Toxicity in Pets
Although pets can show signs of marijuana toxicity post-inhalation, much of the time it’s from suspected or known oral ingestion. Marijuana toxicity is more often seen in dogs with cats and other species representing a very small percentage of patients.
The time from ingestion to the onset of signs can vary from minutes to hours and last for days because marijuana ingredients are stored in body fat.
Patients may present with a range of clinical signs, including:
- Behavioral changes
- Urinary incontinence
- Neurologic issues
- Abdominal pain
Marijuana toxicity is similar to several other toxic ingestions, such as chocolate, antidepressants, antiparasitics (amitraz), heartworm medications (ivermectin), rodenticides (bromethalin), antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and ethanol (rotting fruit, bread dough).
Patients experiencing severe marijuana toxicity may require hospitalization and treatment. Pets can also become comatose or die from their exposures. If you suspect your pet has ingested marijuana, contact your family veterinarian immediately or take your pet to your nearest MedVet.