Keep your pets off the pot

Princeton’s Cascade Veterinary Clinic treats an average of two case of marijuana poisoning each month.

Princeton vet Ryan Ridgway has a pointed message for pet owners – keep them off the pot.

Cascade Veterinary Clinic sees an average of two dogs or cats a month that are suffering from marijuana poisoning, he said.

By way of comparison they get approximately two cases of chocolate poisoning per year.

“In most cases they [the animals] either steal it out of the garbage can or get it in baked goods…Just second hand smoke can be enough and we have had cases where it was second hand smoke and they were effectively hot-boxed.”

While Ridgway said he has noticed no increase in the number of animals he sees suffering from marijuana poisoning, other vets have observed a significant upturn in these cases.

According the North America-wide Pet Poison Helpline, calls about pot toxicity have increased 333 per cent since 2015.

“There haven’t been any links to legalization at this point. It looks like more people are using it and it’s out there more.”

According to Ridgway marijuana – primarily its THC – blocks the release of neurotransmitters in an animal’s brain.

That leads to lack of co-ordination, disorientation, vomiting, behavior changes, tremors and even seizures.

“Sometimes they will be vocalizing because they are scared. They are hallucinating and having a bad trip.”

He said clinic vets have spent entire nights sitting with a dog poisoned by marijuana, treating its seizures and trying to save its life.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “More often than not it’s accidental, not intentional, but we do deal with the odd intentional case where they [the owners] thought it was funny.”

Ridgway said those pet owners are dangerous.

“If they think it’s funny then they need to shake their heads and take a look in the mirror. It’s not funny. It’s very serious and animal abuse is a crime.”

Some pet owners attempt to treat their own animals with marijuana products, but they are also endangering their pets, said Ridgway.

He noted while there is some evidence to suggest marijuana can be helpful to treat epilepsy and seizures in dogs there is too great a toxicity risk attached to its use and research is still developing.

“Health Canada doesn’t have any products approved.”

Ridgway said an animal’s size can determine, in part, how it reacts to marijuana or any other drug or substance.

“You would need to know the concentration that’s in the product so that you give an appropriate dose and there are so many variations in the active ingredient within the different products and with the different plants and some of them are very potent.”

While Cascade vets have managed to save every pet they’ve treated for marijuana, they did watch a dog die after it had swallowed Tylenol.

Ridgway’s advice is that if an animal has ingested a toxin such as pot, chocolate, or caffeine it needs to receive vet care immediately.

“Treat [marijuana] like any other medication or toxin that could be fatal and cause a lot of issues and just store it safely and be careful with it. Don’t just treat it like it’s something really safe and make sure that your pet stays out of it.”

Just Posted

Cutest pet contest winner: Abi

Cutest pet in the South Okanagan-Similkameen winner for July 13

Contest: Send us your cute pet photos

Email us photos of your pets in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

Princeton faces teacher shortage in September

District scrambling to fill approximately nine vacancies

Cyclist attempts to break Pan-America world record

German cyclist Jonas Deichmann is travelling through B.C. to Alaska. He plans to begin his attempt on Aug. 18.

Vigorous cold front and strong winds blow across Interior

Environment Canada is issuing a special weather statement for the Interior of B.C.

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

B.C. Lions claw their way back to score 20-17 victory over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Edmonton, fell to 2-3 with the loss

High winds, lack of rain suggest no breaks in sight for B.C. wildfire season

There were 11 new wildfires across the province over 24 hours, BC Wildfire Service officials say

CJ’s Nightclub may be reopening in August under new ownership

Facebook posts suggest the longtime night club is set to reopen in August, also hiring staff

Most Read