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Pot-Luck Dog Dinners a Hazard, Says Vet

By Hempology | September 14, 2006

CBC News Sept 12/06

A Vancouver veterinarian who runs a 24-hour emergency clinic says she treats a surprising number of dogs who have overdosed on marijuana or other illicit drugs.

Dr. Suann Hosie says many of them have consumed large amounts of pot from their owners’ stashes.

“They sometimes hallucinate. Certainly on marijuana, they have a dry mouth, their pupils are dilated, they stagger. They act just so weird that the panicky owner brings them in.”

Hosie says the owners are often unaware the dog has eaten marijuana, or are just reluctant to tell her the truth.

She says in one case a young man finally admitted what happened after he went home from the clinic.

“He phoned me back after we had hospitalized his pet and he said, “I went home and my stash was gone.”

Drug testing for dogs

Hosie says she has begun drug testing dogs she suspects have overdosed on marijuana, using the same Rapid Response test marketed to employers and parents of teens in the U.S.

She says it eliminates any questions the owners may have about what their dog has consumed.

“When they see that strip turn green or purple, it’s a positive diagnosis rather than us diagnosing it with the clinical signs,” she said.

Hosie says the treatment in most cases is to induce vomiting and provide fluids, after which the dogs recover quickly.

But she has also treated dogs who have consumed harder drugs or chewed on their owners’ asthma inhalers. She says both can be fatal.

The Vancouver vet says she sees very few cats with the problem, noting they seem to be a little more discriminating about what they eat.

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