Earlier this week, Trupanion, a pet medical insurance provider, announced it has seen a steep rise in confirmed marijuana toxicity cases since the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The Seattle-based company said “the number of marijuana toxicity cases per capita increased by 50% from 2014 to 2015 and by 8% from 2015 to 2016.”
Trupanion shared the data in anticipation of April 20th or 4/20, which is the unofficial national holiday for cannabis users.
“With relaxed laws around marijuana, people may be less concerned with leaving it out in places their pets can access,” said Dr. Katy Burr, who Trupanion’s on-staff veterinarian. “Unfortunately this means pets are getting into their owners’ stashes and the results can be harmful.”
To date, Trupanion has paid more than $140,000 in suspected marijuana toxicity claims. The average cost to treat a toxicity claim is $450.
Symptoms of marijuana toxicity are:
- impaired coordination
- loss of bladder control
- light and sound sensitivity
If your dog shows these signs you should get it to a veterinarian immediately. And if you know/suspect your dog ate marijuana or marijuana-infused edibles, don’t hesitate to tell the vet.
I’ve heard of instances where people didn’t mention to the vet that their dog ate marijuana because it was illegal. That shouldn’t be a problem now that recreational pot is legal in Washington. And it’s important information that your vet must know to give your dog the proper treatment.
“Marijuana has natural nausea control properties, which can make it very difficult for your veterinarian to induce vomiting if treatment is delayed,” said Dr. Burr. “It is always important to discuss what your pet ingested with your veterinarian.”
So if you plan to celebrate 4/20 tomorrow (or any other day of the year), be sure to stash your stash away from your pets and know the warning signs of toxicity so you can get your pet immediate help should they need it.