This Wordless Wednesday is actually pretty wordy as I rant about marijuana, pets and public relations. You see, a local news station asked to interview a “pet health expert” about a study that found marijuana poisoning in pets is on the rise and I was picked for the job.
My city recently legalized medical marijuana so it is a timely subject here and I thought the interview would be fun. I reviewed the study, loaded up on all sorts of marijuana facts, agonized over my TV wardrobe and drove 40 minutes to the downtown studio. I was pumped and ready for the interview that would change the lives of pet parents all over town.
Two questions later– one that the reporter actually answered herself- I found myself driving back home.
I hope you didn’t take my rant too seriously. The interview was a great experience and I helped a local PR company fulfill a promise to their client. However, my mind is going to burst if I don’t get to share all of the marijuana facts I learned, so I’m using this story to get it out of my system.
Did You Know?
- There are 23 states plus Washington D.C. that have implemented some form of legalized marijuana for people.
- With that said, Pets Best Pet Insurance conducted a recent survey of U.S. veterinarians and found that marijuana poisoning is now the third most common toxin treated at veterinary clinics and hospitals. The first most common toxin is prescription drugs and the second is insecticides. The former third toxin was over-the-counter drugs.
- The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association says that in the five years medical marijuana has become legal in the state, the number of dogs and cats ingesting the drug have quadrupled. There are no current statistics since the sale of recreational marijuana has been approved.
- Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana. THC is used in concentrated amounts in marijuana laden baked goods. Pets seem very fond of these baked goods and eating them is the cause of the majority of poisonings.
- Pets typically show the first signs of the toxin after one or two hours of ingesting it. Early symptoms look like they are intoxicated with wobbly walking, lethargy and confusion. Some pets have mild symptoms while others go into a coma or develop hypothermia. Most pets are frightened by the way they feel.
- Dogs and cats that have eaten marijuana need to be seen by a veterinarian who can provide supportive care. Their body temperature must be regulated and IV fluids can get the drug out of their system quicker. Sometimes vomiting is induced.
- Many baked goods with THC or marijuana are laden with chocolate. That adds another layer of risk because chocolate is another toxin to dogs.
- The vast majority of pets recover from marijuana poisoning, but in recent months there have been two confirmed deaths of dogs that ate THC baked goods. These baked goods did not contain chocolate.
- Prevention is the best way to keep pets safe. Be sure all marijuana products are stored in canisters that can’t be opened by a dog or cat and keep them out of reach.
Someday marijuana may prove to be beneficial to pets. I am especially sensitive to this prospect because dogs that are in pain with IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) or cancer might be among the first to use it. However, at this time there are no medical studies that have done the necessary research on the subject. Science doesn’t know the doses that will alleviate pain in pets and they don’t know the dose that causes poisoning.
I am neither for nor against marijuana. I just wanted to share the facts that will keep pets safe. Thanks for letting me rant!