There is a new toxic/noxious/poisonous substance to add to the list of substances that are a threat to our pets, medical marijuana. As medical marijuana is approved in many states, so has the increase in marijuana poisoning in pets, both from inhaling the smoke and eating the plants. While few if any pets die from exposure to marijuana, most if not all do require treatment from a veterinarian. Pet owners must be careful that their pets do not have access to edible products that contain marijuana as well as to the plant itself.
Signs of poisoning usually manifest itself between 30 and 60 minutes after exposure and sooner if the exposure is a result of inhaling the smoke. Signs include vomiting, stumbling, dilated pupils and urinary incontinence. Since there is a risk of heart issues, a veterinarian my want to monitor the pet for a day or more.
Keep in mind that even if you do not have medical marijuana in your home, taking your pet to visit a friend who does have it in their home can expose your pet to the risks of medical marijuana.
As always, it is best to err on the side of caution and be aware of what your pet has access to in your home, outdoors and when they visit or travel. This includes taking your pet on vacation, hiking, and generally being outdoors with your pet. Especially if you are visiting an unfamiliar area.
If you can recognize the marijuana plant in all of its forms you will know if your pet has had access to it.