Pot and Pets

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With both Medical and Recreational use of Marijuana becoming legal in a growing number of States we wanted to provide you with some practical information:

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and as a DEA Schedule 1 drug it is not legal for veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana for their patients, even in states where it is legal for MDs to prescribe it to their human patients.

Unfortunately, THC can be toxic to our pets, and there currently are no approved recommended uses.  Exposure to marijuana can result in a very sick animal.  The vast majority of pet exposures occur in dogs (95 percent).  Ingestion is the most common way pets are exposed, especially in dogs who are notorious for eating just about anything!  Pets can also be exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke.


THC IS TOXIC TO DOGS, CATS AND HORSES

THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana (the part that gets people “high”).  Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the “high” that people experience.  The symptoms that develop in pets do not appear enjoyable for them. An animal’s liver processes this compound differently than the human liver and signs of toxicity typically become apparent within minutes to a few hours.  Some common symptoms of toxicity can be respiratory depression, weakness and/or ataxia (“drunk walking”), sensitivity to light, glassy eyes, slowed or very rapid heart rate, seizures, collapse, and occasionally coma.  Death is rare but can occur.  Because THC is lipid (fat) soluble, pets may exhibit mild to moderate symptoms for days as the chemical is slowly released from fat stores.


DUE TO CURRENT STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS, VERY LITTLE RESEARCH HAS BEEN DONE ON MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS INCLUDING THOSE THAT DO NOT CONTAIN THC IN ANIMALS ( CBD )

There currently are companies marketing marijuana products to treat diseases in animals.  While both marijuana and industrial hemp products are available, no studies, doses, or uses in veterinary medicine have been determined.  The FDA has not approved the use of marijuana or hemp in any form for animals and the agency cannot ensure the safety or effectiveness of these products.  For these reasons, the FDA and the Animal Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cautions pet owners against the use of such products.  Many of these products are marketed as CBD oils or chews.  These products, despite contrary claims, are illegal for use in pets.


CBD ONLINE 

If you purchase products that contain cannabinoids (marijuana derivatives) that claim to have no THC in them online or in a store, buyer beware!    Despite the fact that CBD cannot be sold legally as a dietary supplement in the U.S., many CBD products are available.  The FDA has issued numerous warning letters to companies selling products containing cannabidiol.  Many of these products, once tested, did not contain the levels of CBD they claimed. 


Because the FDA has concluded that THC and CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition, neither THC nor CBD can be legally marketed as a human or animal supplement.  Due to the lack of research, the proper dosing of cannabinoids for our pets is unknown.  As with any herbal supplement, negative side effects can be seen if used improperly. 


LOOKING FORWARD

Currently clinical trials are being conducted at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital where they are researching and documenting the use of CBD for both seizures and osteoarthritis.   The University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine is also conducting an efficacy study on the use of CBD products for pets.  As with many medical discoveries the bond between human and animal studies and research is very close.  Ultimately this research could lead to more tools in the toolbox for veterinarians to treat our beloved pets.


BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A STATE WHERE THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS LEGAL, WE ARE STARTING TO SEE AN INCREASE IN THE ACCIDENTIAL INGESTION OF MARIJUANA AND MARIJUANA PRODUCTS BY PETS.  

 

IF YOUR PET INGESTS MARIJUANA IN ANY FORM OR DOSE AND SEEMS ILL, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN RIGHT AWAY.  WE ARE HERE TO HELP WITH MEDICAL ADVICE AND IF NEEDED SUPPORTIVE CARE FOR YOUR PET.  OUR GOAL IS TO HELP YOUR PET, BE UP FRONT ABOUT WHAT YOUR PET HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO .  VETERINARIANS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO REPORT MARIJUANA EXPOSURE,  SO THERE IS NO NEED FOR LEGAL CONCERNS.

 

For more information visit  - https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/marijuana


For more information on the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital's clinical trials involving cannabidiol and dogs with arthritis and epilepsy, visit bitly.com/csutrials.

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