On 11/20/18, recreational cannabis stores opened their doors in Massachusetts. With ailments like cancer, pain, anxiety and other medical conditions being treated with cannabis, it is easy to see why pet parents want to use CBD on their pets.
We are excited to see that research is being done on pets, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Unfortunately it is not currently legal for Veterinarians to discuss or recommend the use of cannabis in pets. Hemp based CBD products are widely available to consumers both for people and pets. Dogs Naturally Magazine describes the difference between Marijuana and Hemp below.
With recreational cannabis being legal now, we want to talk about the precautions to take with pets in the home. Recreational and medical cannabis comes in many different forms including whole herb, edibles, CBD oils and topicals. Edibles and whole herb can be quite appealing to a pet, so make sure you store them in a safe place that you know your pet cannot get to. Even if you take all the precautions, some pets are just natural born detectives and will sniff it out. So, what do you do if your pet gets into cannabis? First, you should know the symptoms to look out for.
There is no antidote for marijuana, but veterinarians can provide supportive care. This usually includes fluid therapy, temperature regulation and anti-nausea medications along with other palliative care.
A recent case we saw was a pit bull mix who presented unsteady and falling down. Her color and respiration were normal, but she was drooling excessively. During the exam, it was not admitted that there was any marijuana in the house. After some investigation, it was revealed that someone in the house had made some marijuana butter for some edibles. The wax paper that it was made on was disposed in the garbage, and the patient ate enough to cause neurological symptoms. She was treated with ozone fluid therapy, vitamin injections, and rest. She recovered within a few hours.
Another case (see video below) of marijuana ingestion presented to the emergency room. It appeared as an Ivermectin overdose, but the owner was sure she did not have any exposure to Ivermectin. It turned out that this pup had ingested a whole bud that was laid out to dry. The owner figured out that it was marijuana ingestion after discovering the bud was missing. The patient was treated with fluid therapy for hydration, ozone therapy to help detox the liver and plenty of rest.
Although it can be embarrassing to admit that your pet has ingested marijuana, it is important for your veterinarian to know so they can treat appropriately. Most veterinarians will not hold any judgement and are more focused on your pet’s well-being.