Friday, February 1, 2013

#FurbabyFridays Presents: Toxins for Pets

Working in a very busy veterinary hospital in an area between Oakland and Berkeley California, I see more than my fair share of "poisoned" patients. The reason I put that in quotations is that while there are many things outside and indoors that are toxic to pets, the most common one above all in our practice is marijuana ingestion. Since this is the first in the series of posts I have planned about common toxins for pets, I thought marijuana should kick it off. The following is a repost of a blog I did in October 2011. It's a light-hearted attempt to get through my frustration of seeing so many of these dogs show up at our hospital. 

Let me know what you think of this post and make sure you come back next week for more toxins to keep out of reach of your fur babies.

~Dr. Tammy

Pass the Koochie to Your Poochie

Wouldn't you know it, I had two more dogs strung out on weed today.  I'm telling you instead of Occupy Oakland, we need to Occupy Pupland.  Just say no, Sparky!  It's time we take back the off leash parks and tell those foo foo French Poodles we don't want them pushing their dime bags on our poor helpless Pit Bulls!  And don't get me started on those bouncy Jack Russel Terriers.  They have dipped one too many times in their stashes if you know what I mean.

We can laugh about dogs getting high all we want, but it is a serious problem. Just like children, they get into everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING!  Medications whether they are prescription or otherwise, need to be locked up and not stored in little plastic baggies in purses or back packs.  Sure it's easy to put a couple of days worth of your meds in a ziploc and put them in your purse, but it's just as easy for your beloved pet to eat some or all of it when you back is turned for "just a few minutes."

Colorado Stoners Put Dogs At Risk
When a dog presents dribbling urine, jumping near out of it's skin with loud noises or sudden movements, pupils dilated to the point that their eyes appear black saucers, and they nearly drop asleep when they are sitting still, I am going to assume the canine has been exposed to marijuana.  These symptoms can occur with ingestion of the stuff or in some cases inhaling the smoke.  I have written about this before, but it needs to be repeated over and over again until the word gets out there.

It's NOT funny when your pet is high from weed.  If they have ingested enough of it they can become quite ill from the secondary effects.  The anxiety can be severe in these animals and some can get snappy.  People or other animals could be bitten or scratched.  Some of these patients suffer from vomiting and diarrhea and can become severely dehydrated.  Yes it is rare that there are deaths from marijuana toxicity, but these animals need to be supported with fluids to help get through it quickly and safely.

One of my patients today ingested a marijuana chocolate brownie.  In this case, the dog ingested TWO toxins.  The marijuana and the chocolate.  Of the two, the chocolate is the most toxic and could induce seizures.  If left untreated, and the seizures continued out of control, the animal could die.  This is serious stuff people!  Keep all chocolate with or without marijuana in it, locked up and out of reach of your pets.

Another thing, it's very important that you tell your veterinarian if there is any chance your fur baby ingested any kind of substance, illegal or not.  We are not out to turn you into the police.  We just want to give your pet the correct medical treatment as quickly as possible.  The longer you take to admit that your pet ingested or was exposed to drugs such as marijuana, crack cocaine, Xanax, Valium, Ecstacy, crystal meth, heroine, oxycodone, nicotine, or alcohol, the longer it takes for us to make the correct diagnosis and administer the proper treatment.

So please, save yourselves the headache, heartache and the emptying of your pocketbook.  Keep any and all medications, whether prescription, over the counter, legal or otherwise safely out of reach of your pets.  Okay, now I will get off my soapbox...for now.

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