PHOENIX — A Valley animal hospital says it’s been seeing a dramatic increase in the number dogs being brought in for treatment because of exposure to marijuana.
“The case counts seem to be roughly doubling on a year to year basis,” said Billy Griswold, director of medical management for Emergency Animal Clinic.
He could not provide an exact number, but Griswold said they’re seeing an average of about two dozen cases every month between their five clinic locations in the Valley.
Griswold said the increase could coincide with the passage of medical marijuana in Arizona and the various ways to consume the drug.
“We have seen it over the years, you know, the case of ‘the dog ate my stash in the baggie,'” Griswold said. “We do see it as well with the synthetic marijuanas that are sold as potpourri or whatnot at smoke shops.”
Marijuana being baked into cookies or brownies can present hazards for dogs, as well as exposing them to marijuana smoke. Griswold said both have the potential to cause effects on canines.
Some of the common symptoms for dogs under the influence of marijuana include glassy eyes, stumbling or difficulty walking, and pupil dilation, according to Griswold. Severe symptoms include loss of consciousness, low heart rates, seizure and urinary incontinence.
Griswold said synthetic marijuana and natural marijuana can have different effects on dogs and those effects can last up to 48 hours.
“The good news in all this is that, natural marijuana at any rate is generally safe in the sense that we very rarely see fatalities associated with it,” he said. “Synthetic (marijuana) on the other hand, because they’re often manufactured overseas, we have seen some dogs with serious illness related to ingesting the synthetic marijuana or synthetics cannabinoids.”
He said synthetic marijuana has caused fatalities, and one dog had to spend a night on a ventilator.
“There’s not an antidote for marijuana,” he said. “If the exposure has been fairly recent … and we think there may be some still in the stomach, inducing vomiting can be helpful just for removing material from the stomach, and then beyond that treatment is typically just supportive and symptomatic.”
Griswold added that their priority is to treat the animal, not to enforce laws. He recommends that owners who think their pet might be exposed to marijuana to be honest with their veterinarian to save them from having to run tests and investigate what could be causing their symptoms.
“To be perfectly honest, we really don’t care what they do on their free time,” he said. “We just try and impress upon folks that in the long run it’s better for the pet and usually for your wallet to just own up to it so we can figure out what it is and react in the most specific way possible.”
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier