Medical marijuana is prescribed in several states across the country. However, veterinarians are warning pet owners to be cautious when ingesting marijuana around dogs.
According to Colorado veterinarians many individuals believe if medicinal marijuana is beneficial to their health, then it may also help their pets. New research reveals that medicinal marijuana is the reason a number of dogs are getting sick.
In previous years Debbie Van Pelt of VRCC, the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Englewood, would see dogs high on marijuana a few times a year, but recently the number has increased to as many as five times a week. Most dogs ingest medical marijuana by consuming food laced with the drug.
Dr. Stacy Meola is veterinarian at Wheat Ridge Clinic. She also organized the five-year study that demonstrates the number of dogs that fall ill to marijuana. In Colorado the number has quadrupled since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2000.
Dogs who have ingested the drug may exhibit symptoms such as staggering, acting lethargic, vomiting and being overly sensitive to sound and light. Sometimes they fall into a coma. It is what veterinarians say the "doggie equivalent to a bad trip."
Once the dog is treated he or she returns to normal within 24 hours. Though most dogs survive, there are a few who don't.
"Two dogs, however, got into baked goods with medical grade marijuana butter in it, which presumably seems to be more toxic to the dogs, so we did have two deaths," Dr. Meola explained to CBS4.
Veterinarians recommend when bringing your dog in for treatment, if marijuana may be a factor it is imperative to let the m know immediately. "I just want dogs, kids to be safe. It needs to be treated like any other drug. If you came home with a prescription of vicodin from your doctor you wouldn't just leave it sitting there," Dr. Meola said.