Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

With the legalization of marijuana, there are increased incidents of marijuana ingestion and toxicity seen in pets. We feel it’s important for you to learn about what should be done.

The use of cannabidiol or CBD oil can have its benefits for certain therapies in pets although not a whole lot of research has been done on CBD oil just yet. It is important to note that CBD oil does not contain THC (or less than 0.3% THC), as pets should not consume THC.

THC causes psychotropic effects and toxicity, while CBD is considered non-toxic or has limited toxicity. When we talk about marijuana toxicity, we are talking about the plant product that contains THC.

Marijuana toxicity can occur in a few different ways in pets. They can inhale the smoke, or ingest the plant. They can ingest the plant by itself, ingestion from baked goods (edibles), or licking up oils that contain marijuana called shatter. If you know your pet has ingested marijuana, it is important to let the veterinarian know. If it was consumed in an edible, they may need to treat for other toxicities as well (chocolate, raisin, sweeteners such as xylitol, etc), or if it was in shatter/oil, then it often has a much higher concentration of THC.

There is no right treatment for marijuana toxicity itself, but it most cases, the symptoms still need to be treated. Some of the symptoms of marijuana toxicity include:

  • Salivation
  • Depression
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Ataxia (stumbling)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Fast heart rate
  • Increased breathing
  • Excitability
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures

Treatment of marijuana toxicity includes; bloodwork to identify any liver or kidney damage, inducing vomiting, IV fluids, charcoal administration to slow down the absorption of THC and absorb any THC remaining in the stomach, anti-nausea medications, stomach protectants, and careful monitoring so that the pet quickly improves after a few hours.

We can assure you; here at Centennial Animal Hospital, you will never be judged or have any disapproval from us in regards to marijuana toxicity. We would like to know exactly when your pet ingested it, and in what form, to treat your pet most effectively.

Your pet should never be left untreated when it comes to THC toxicity. If you know your pet has ingested marijuana, please bring it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The faster it is treated, the greater success of your pet avoiding serious health complications.

Written by: Michelle, Lead RVT