Cannabis and Your Pets
Cannabis legalization has had significant consequences politically and socially, but often overlooked is the implications for our pets. While CBD products are now being marketed to our pets as a natural remedy for certain conditions such as joint pain, certain cannabis products can be fatal to our pets. Recently, Ontario has started regulating the sales of edible cannabis, which increases the risk for cannabis toxicity. With the potent drug being hidden within sweet, yummy, flavourful products, it is more likely your pet may unknowingly ingest a dangerous amount of cannabis. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline has reported a 448% increase of cannabis ingestion cases over the past six years, demonstrating the escalating danger cannabis poses to our pets.
It is important to keep all cannabis products, both THC and CBD, securely away from your pets' reach. In the case that your pet does ingest cannabis, take your pet to a veterinarian right away. Cannabis has much more drastic effects on pets than humans, so even a small amount can be a serious health risk.
Signs of Cannabis Toxicity
THC affects our neurological function and therefore the signs of cannabis toxicity we will see in pets is typically neurological. This includes depression, dilated pupils, urinary incontinence (i.e., urine leakage), tremors or lack of coordination, seizures and coma. Other symptoms can include salivation, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and vomiting.
Treatment for Cannabis Toxicity
Typically, pets who have cannabis toxicity will require hospitalization. Depending on when ingestion occurred, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove the toxic material. Additionally, your veterinarian may give activated charcoal to help bind the THC, and to minimize absorption. IV fluids may also be administered to help flush out the toxin and maintain good blood pressure. Depending on the symptoms that appear, those will be treated as needed. For example, your veterinarian may give anti-nausea medication if your pet is vomiting. Throughout the duration of hospitalization, your veterinarian will monitor your pet's blood pressure and temperature.
What About CBD Products for Pets?
CBD products, such as oil, specifically designed for animal use, may have promising therapeutic effects, if administered properly. However, it is important to note that the therapeutic effects of CBD products for animals has very limited understanding at this point in time. While some veterinary professionals acknowledge that there is potential for CBD products to be used to treat conditions such as arthritis, anxiety or chronic pain, the current stance of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) doesn't endorse the administration of cannabis. According to the CVMA the primary reason for their omitted endorsement is due to limited scope of research. Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, more studies are expected to be conducted to better understand the effects of cannabis on our furry companions. Keep up to date on research today, and also discuss with your veterinarian their perspective on it.
If you have any questions regarding your pet's health, and cannabis products, we are happy to help!
Looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket / Aurora area? Give us a call at 905-898-1010 to book an appointment today at Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital!