Vets see large increase in marijuana poisoning in pets

Vets see large increase in marijuana poisoning in pets
SEATTLE -- Washington residents voted to legalize marijuana last year, and veterinarians are now reporting a disturbing increase in pets being accidentally poisoned.

Hempfest has Seattle at the epicenter of pot culture this weekend, but all that marijuana is leading to some unknowing users.

Veterinarian Dr. Cheri Trisheium said she's seen a big jump in dogs getting sick from eating pot.

"They are sort of out of it," she said. "They are kind of bobbing, they are easily startled, their eyes are dilated."

While rarely fatal, marijuana poisoning in pets can be serious.

"In severe cases though, their blood pressure can drop dramatically. They can have all the signs and symptoms of shock," Trisheium said.

Representatives from a pet insurance company called Trupanion say claims from pets ingesting marijuana are up 37 percent this year in Washington.

The average bill for treating an animal is $579, but that can easily climb into the thousands of dollars.

"For an owner who sees their dog absolutely altered and not themselves, it can look like seizures to owners, it can be incredibly alarming," Trisheium said.

Vets say another problem is just getting the owners of sick pets to admit what happened.

"Folks are often like, 'No, no, no, there is no way he could have,' even if your friend smokes or uses edible marijuana. We try to let them know that we don't care, we just want to help them with their pet," Trisheium said.

Trisheium said if you suspect your pet has eaten marijuana, you should get them to a vet as soon as possible to help them recover and rule out any other problems.