Sunday, April 19, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Dogs’ pot poisoning soars as pets dig through trash, stash

dog1W

Dr. Jill Chase, owner and veterinarian at Ocean Beach Veterinary Clinic, uses an ophthalmoscope while examining Baby, a pug dog, in San Francisco on Dec. 23. Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle photo

By
From page A5 | January 05, 2014 |

By Katherine Seligman

San Francisco veterinarian Jill Chase had just finished hosting a birthday party for her son 10 years ago when her dog went limp. After investigating what might have caused the problem, she discovered the culprit: cannabis-infused butter that a neighbor had dumped in the garbage down the street. Her dog, a Tibetan terrier who was a habitual trash surfer, had eaten a large dose.

“He was completely OD’d in a coma for three days, on my bathroom floor with an IV,” said Chase, whose dog eventually recovered.

Since Chase’s experience, cases of marijuana poisoning in dogs have increased, particularly in states like California where medical marijuana is legal. As one veterinarian put it, our dogs are “munching out.” Dogs are known to be indiscriminate eaters, going after paper, trash, random objects on the street and, now, their best friend’s cannabis.

The Pet Poison Hotline, which takes calls from around the country and Canada, noted a 200 percent increase in reported incidents of poisoning in the past five years. Dr. Lori Green, a critical care veterinarian at the San Francisco SPCA Veterinary Hospital, says the clinic treats as many as three dogs a week for symptoms of marijuana toxicity: trembling, vomiting and walking troubles.

“There’s been an increase as marijuana becomes more acceptable in public and less of an underworld thing,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, an assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where the animal hospital treated 27 dogs for pot poisoning in the past year, up from four in 2010.

Different effect
A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2012 reported a correlation between the increase in the number of medical marijuana cardholders and the number of dogs getting poisoned. The study found a fourfold increase in cases seen at two Colorado hospitals over six years. All but two dogs — who ate cannabis butter — survived.

If only a small amount of marijuana is consumed, dogs may become listless or depressed. Pot affects dogs differently than it does humans, veterinarians say, because dogs don’t have liver enzymes to metabolize tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. At higher doses, marijuana can cause dogs to vomit, lose coordination and bladder control, have tremors, and be nervous and over-reactive. Their body temperature and heart rate may drop.

In extreme cases dogs may suffer seizures or seem unresponsive, but THC poisoning is rarely fatal. Dogs usually recover in 12 to 24 hours, though signs can last up to 72 hours.

“We had one dog affected for three days, but it turns out there was psilocybin and antidepressant in the brownie,” Green said. “It was a healthy young dog, but it got the whole cocktail.”

Few poisonings fatal
A urine test can determine if THC is present, but most dogs are diagnosed based on symptoms, which veterinarians say makes it hard to document the exact number of cases. While many owners take dogs to the veterinarian, an unknown number of others call for advice, consult the Internet or wait out the symptoms at home.

A 2002 study by the American SPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center of 250 cases of accidental marijuana ingestion found that only two were fatal — to a cat and a horse. The vast majority of the poisonings, 96 percent, occurred in dogs, with 3 percent in cats and the remaining 1 percent in other species, according to the ASPCA, which also runs a poison hotline.

Veterinarians report that some people give their animals marijuana vapors, tinctures or edibles for pain control, and trade pot biscuit recipes on the Internet and discuss dosage. Green and others discourage such treatment, saying there are more effective, safer drugs available and that there is insufficient research showing that pot helps relieve pet suffering.

Most people who know how their pet got sick are up-front about it, Green said, but sometimes they don’t know. Or they don’t want anyone else to know. She recalls one client who admitted, after her teenage daughter left the room, that it was her own stash.

“We make it clear we’re trying to help the dog and not pointing the finger at anybody,” she said. “The dog might have gotten it from a park or a trash can or from a buddy’s backpack.”

Emergency care
Veterinarians say it’s important to get emergency treatment for dogs that show symptoms of THC toxicity, which usually show up 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion. Treatment may include inducing vomiting, or, if the dog is too woozy, feeding it activated charcoal to absorb what’s in the stomach. In some cases, the dog might need intravenous fluids to help flush out the toxins and an overnight stay for close monitoring of vital signs.

The bill for treatment can vary from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, depending on the level of care needed.

Green advises being vigilant about what might put pets at risk, particularly during the season when marijuana edibles may be on the holiday menu.

“Be aware that it might not be your animal but someone else’s,” she said. “They will eat anything you leave out.”

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

.

News

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City wants a study of sewer rates

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Art helped sell California’s agriculture

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Garamendi hosts conference for women

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Get some advice at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Free gardening advice offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Grad Night tickets on sale online

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
NAMI group offers family support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Forum

Ready for the parting glass

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

By Our View | From Page: B6

 
Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

Leash your dogs; it’s the law

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

 
Speak out

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

 
This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

 
Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

.

Obituaries

Alice Catherine Micheltorena

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Jody Zewe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Herman Timm

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8