Dr. Katie Graves, at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital, uses a stethoscope to listen to Dumpling’s heart. Dumpling, a dwarf cat, belongs to Graves. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer vet hopes more pet owners will fess up about cannabis mishaps

Keep cannabis away from pets

Cannabis and canines don’t mix, and neither do cats when it comes to pot.

Dr. Katie Graves, of Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital, hasn’t seen an increase in pets impacted by cannabis coming to her clinic, but it’s still early days in the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In the past three months, she saw one dog that needed treatment.

“It was in a cookie form, and it was the type of dog that likes to eat everything,” Graves said.

More stories:

Recreational cannabis has arrived in Red Deer

Proposed Red Deer cannabis store turned down

The Red Deer veterinarian said in that case, the owners brought the dog in as soon as they figured out what happened, and vomiting was induced because the cookie had just been eaten. But often, it’s difficult to know how much a pet has consumed and when, she said.

“Sometimes, they have to stay overnight on IV fluids, but overall, most of the owners we have had brought their pets in right away.”

She said if the pet is already high, vomiting can be dangerous, so a tube might be used to put charcoal in its stomach to prevent more cannabis from being absorbed into its system.

She has not seen any cannabis-related deaths, but pets’ lungs can be damaged from second-hand cannabis smoke.

Graves said a few dogs have gotten into bags of cannabis, but most accidents occur when they eat cannabis-laced cooking.

“I think (cats) might be more likely to go after the plants. But so far, it’s mainly the dogs with the cookies and brownies.”

She said it’s double trouble if chocolate is used in the baking, since chocolate is toxic for pets, so it’s important for them to be treated right away.

Graves hopes legalization will encourage more pet owners to be honest when they show up with a sick animal. She recalled one cat that she suspected of being impacted by cannabis, but the owner kept quiet.

“It will be an opportunity to be a little more open about what they’ve gotten into.”

With legalization, there may also be less chance of other more dangerous drugs being mixed in with cannabis, she said.

Graves said when it comes to medicinal cannabis for pets, a safe dosage has not been established and more research is required.

She suggested people check out information produced by the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association:

Veterinarians caution: Medical cannabis exposure in pets

Signs of cannabis exposure in your pets


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