Marijuana Toxic to Pets
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Marijuana Cannabis also known as hemp, hasish, grass, reefer, weed or pot is a complex substance containing over 60 different forms of cannabinoids, the active ingredients. Marijuana is used as a drug to treat pain for a number of diseases including cancer and HIV. It has been used to prevent medication side effects and to increase appetite for chemotherapy patients.
With the increased availability of medical marijuana in some areas, pets are encountering more exposure to marijuana and its active chemical ingredient i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is toxic to your pets and the vast majority of pet exposure occurs in dogs. The most common route of marijuana exposure to pets is oral. Some animals love to ingest raw medical marijuana plant leaves, seeds, and even joints. They can also get exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke.
THC is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and its signs become clear quickly. Research suggests that about 30 percent of animals exposed to THC usually develop gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. The other symptoms are most commonly the same sort you might observe in humans that include lethargy, depression, slow heart rate, in-coordination, and sometime urinary incontinence. Since THC is lipid soluble, pets may exhibit mild to moderate symptoms for days. Veterinarian can prescribe urine test to diagnose the marijuana intoxication. Death from medical marijuana intoxication is rare but can occur. So, you have to be very careful and need medical attention immediately. Depending on the timing of ingestion, your veterinarian will likely give a medication to induce vomiting to control further spread of THC. In case of severe intoxication, your pet may need hospitalization and supportive care including an intravenous catheter, IV fluids, heart rate, and blood pressure monitoring or breathing support. However, with mild to moderate exposure to marijuana cannabis and timely medical treatment, most pets can recover completely. It is advisable to keep your medical marijuana out of your pets’ reach. Do not leave leftovers in an open waste bin or in a compost bin that your pet may sneak into for a snack.