Article by Solomon Israel, Leaf News
New data suggest pet poisonings from cannabis are on the rise, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says.
The Pet Poison Helpline, a U.S.-based animal poison control centre that also serves Canadian pet owners and veterinarians, tracked 179 cases of pets being exposed to cannabis in Canada between the start of 2016 and June 30, 2019.
More than 90 per cent of those cases involved dogs, and no fatalities were recorded.
“Sixty-four instances were reported throughout 2018, whereas there were 54 reports during the first seven months of 2019 — suggesting 2019 will show a significant increase from the previous year,” the CVMA said Thursday in a news release, noting not all cannabis exposures involving pets is reported.
“Although these statistics… are significant, in actuality, the number of accidental cannabis ingestions is, in fact, much higher,” the professional association for Canadian animal doctors said.
Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association president Jonas Watson said he sees some cases of cannabis intoxication at the Tuxedo Animal Hospital where he works, but suspects more cases end up at emergency veterinary hospitals.
“Marijuana usage by people is by no means something new, and so over the course of years, veterinarians are quite accustomed to seeing and treating marijuana toxicity in dogs,” said the Winnipeg veterinarian. “The clinical signs can be quite dramatic, but the vast majority of the time these patients respond very favourably to treatment.”
Watson said a typical dog suffering from cannabis exposure presents with symptoms such as a lack of co-ordination, disorientation, urinary incontinence, and possibly an upset stomach.
Speaking on behalf of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarian Ian Sandler said animal doctors across Canada have observed an increase in the number of pets exposed to cannabis, in both rural and urban areas.