We’re Number 1 (and It’s Not a Good Thing)
While researching CDB oil for dogs recently, I ran across an article from last April in which Seattle-based Pet Insurance Provider Trupanion said Washington had highest frequency of marijuana toxicity claims per pet.
This week, a Trupanion spokesperson told me that, on average, Washington pet owners file more claims pet pet for marijuana toxicity than pet owners in any other state.
He also gave me a list of the states with the most marijuana toxicity claims per pet from 2014-2018:
- Washington (Medical Marijuana Legalized – 1998, Recreational Marijuana Legalized- 2012)
- California (Medical – 1996, Recreational – 2016)
- Colorado (Medical – 2000, Recreational – 2012)
- Oregon (Medical – 1998, Recreational – 2014)
- Massachusetts (Medical – 2012, Recreational – 2016)
- New York (Medical – 2014)
Trupanion noted that the number of marijuana toxicity cases for all states “increased by 50% from 2014 to 2015.”
Since then, the number of cases per pet has remained relatively constant.
To date, Trupanion paid more than $180,000 in suspected marijuana toxicity claims.
That’s 800% more than 2014 when it paid $20,000 in marijuana toxicity claims.
Trupanion’s average cost to treat a toxicity claim is $500.
Legalized Marijuana Leads to More Toxicity Cases?
Grace Munns, a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), told marijuana.com that it has seen a “significant increase in the number of calls about pets and marijuana.”
The APCC handled “nearly 52 percent more cases involving cannabis in 2017 compared with 2016,” increasing from 979 cases in 2016 to 1,486 in 2017.”
“Veterinarians across the country have indicated an increase in the number of cases they are seeing,” Munns said.
While Trupanion didn’t say what caused the increase in marijuana toxicity claims, the most obvious reason is the increasing number of states that legalized the sale of marijuana.
With more people legally buying pot, it will be in more households, and if it’s in more households, it will be potentially accessible to more pets.
Trupanion also found that “10 percent of marijuana toxicity claims are paired with chocolate toxicity. On their own, substances such as chocolate, butter, and oil can be harmful to pets. When combined with marijuana, the results are worse.”
Marijuana Toxicity Symptoms in Dogs
Tandi Ngwenyama, a clinical instructor of emergency and small animal critical care at Washington State University, told US News last August that “dogs poisoned with pot have abnormal mental activity.”
“They might be a little bit more depressed or agitated; they’ll walk around like they’re drunk,” she added. “Also pretty classic is they seem to be dribbling urine.”
Other symptoms of marijuana toxicity in dogs include:
- light and sound sensitivity
- irregular heartbeat
Here’s one disturbing example of what a dog suffering marijuana toxicity looks like:
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Marijuana
If you know your dog ate marijuana or it exhibits the symptoms of marijuana toxicity, get it to a veterinarian or emergency hospital immediately.
According to Veterinary Partner, if less than 30 minutes have passed after a dog eats marijuana, “it may be possible to induce vomiting, but after symptoms have started the nausea control properties of the cannabidiol make it difficult to induce vomiting.
Furthermore, if the patient is extremely sedated, vomiting can be dangerous as vomit can be inhaled and cause…aspiration pneumonia,” which can be fatal.
You should also be prepared to provide as much information as possible veterinarian treating your dog such as:
1. What your dog ate (baggie of marijuana, marijuana-infused edibles, CDB oil with high level of THC, etc).
2. How much your dog ate, such as the number of grams of marijuana or the number/size of marijuana-infused brownies.
3. The potency of the marjuana, ie, the amount/percentage of THC in it (cannabis shops must provide this information on each item they sell).
4. How much time elapsed since your dog ate the marijuana.
You shouldn’t hesitate to provide this information, even if consuming pot is illegal in your state, because “veterinarians are not obligated to report anything to local police.”
Furthermore, this information is critically important; the more a vet knows, the faster she can give your dog the most effective treatment.
Here’s the bottom line: if you use or plan to use marijuana in any form, stash your stash where your dog can’t get it and know the warning signs of toxicity so you can get it immediate help.