Does Your Canine Do Cannabis?
Mary Ellen Finley, MS, DVM
Emergency/Critical Care at
With the legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana, veterinarians are seeing more cases of pets getting into their parents' stash. The ready availability of high-grade product, as well as concentrated oils and butters, has increased the impact of these exposures. Dogs are the most frequent patients we see for marijuana exposure. We rarely see exposure in cats because of their fastidious eating habits.
Where There is Smoke...
But ingestion is not the only way pets can be exposed to marijuana - they can also be affected by inhaling smoke. Clients regularly ask veterinarians if there is a safe dose of marijuana for pets, but there are very few studies in veterinary medicine for us to reference. Because of the lack of scientific research on marijuana and pets, veterinarians can't define the mechanism of action, or exactly what the biochemical interactions are in animals. We do know that dogs appear to be very sensitive to even low doses of THC and the cannabinoids. And we know that cannabinoids have
less psychogenic effects than THC, but can still produce effects at higher doses. This is why any exposure is considered potentially toxic.
Common signs of marijuana toxicity include: sedation, low heart rate, dilated pupils, ataxia (uncoordinated "drunk" like walk), hyperesthesia (high sensitivity to light, noise or sudden movements), low body temperature and urinary dribbling. A 2012 study revealed a recent increase in stimulatory signs that could include agitation, tremors, shaking, twitching, elevated body temperature, and seizures. The more THC content a product has, the more intense these symptoms can be.
Marijuana toxicity is a concern, but the good news is death from exposure is rare. If you think your pet may have been exposed to marijuana or THC containing compounds, or if they are showing any of the signs discussed here, please seek veterinary attention immediately. Diagnosing marijuana toxicity is usually based on clinical signs and known or suspected exposure. Human tests are unreliable in dogs. Be honest with your veterinarian about possible exposure - the information you provide may help us to distinguish between a toxic exposure and other, more serious neurological conditions. We will not judge you, and there are no legal ramifications.
If your pet has had recent exposure and is still alert, your veterinarian will likely try to induce vomiting to eliminate the toxin. This is not always successful as marijuana has anti-nausea properties. Treatment may include activated charcoal to bind the toxin and prevent further absorption. Sometimes repeat doses of activated charcoal are needed as THC recirculates in the intestinal system. If your pet is already showing clinical signs it may be unsafe to make them vomit. Activated charcoal may still be used in some cases. For mild cases your veterinarian will likely give your pet fluids under the skin to ensure they stay hydrated, and send them home for further observation. In most cases, symptoms will resolve in 12-24 hours with mild residual symptoms lasting as long as 48-72 hours.
For more serious cases, such as tremors, low heart rate and elevated body temperature your veterinarian will likely recommend in-hospital monitoring. This may include intravenous fluids and drugs to support heart rate and blood pressure if needed. For severely affected cases a novel therapy called intralipid may be recommended as an injection. This was first discovered in people as an antidote to lidocaine toxicity and has been used successfully with several other categories of drugs.
As with any toxicity, the best treatment is prevention. If you have these products in your home please keep them away from your pets. But, if your pet gets into things they shouldn't the good news is that with appropriate treatment, most exposures are not fatal and will have no long-term consequences.
What About Over-the-Counter CBD Products?
Many pet owners use over-the-counter CBD products for a variety of conditions. Although there is no scientific research that shows the benefits of these products for any medical condition in veterinary medicine, many pet owners feel that they help. While toxicities associated with these products are rare, they should be used with caution. These products are not regulated so the actual content and concentration are not verified. Side effects would be expected to be primarily sedation, potentially serious at high doses. If you are interested in using these products please discuss their use with your veterinarian. It is very important not to use them in place of data-based treatment for serious conditions such as seizures until further research is done.
Golden Gate Lab Rescue Pet Fairs & Events
Come meet the dogs & your GGLRR Volunteers!
What makes us different
Some rescue dogs have had a rough start. We invest in making them good canine citizens so they can be a cherished member of their new family. We send dogs to training if they have behavior challenges (see Rufus below) or rehab them in a foster home for weeks or months (see Peaches below) before adopting them out. We'll tell you up front what issues the dogs have because nobody's perfect!
February 23, Pet Food Express, Novato 11-2
March 16, Pet Food Express, Walnut Creek 11-2
April 6, Pet Food Express, San Jose - Blossom Hill 11-2
April 27, Pet Food Express, Novato 11-2
Some of the
DOGS UP FOR ADOPTION
4 1/2-year-old neutered male black Lab mix, ~80 lbs.
Rufus has some anxiety issues and we currently have him in a board and train program, where he is making tremendous progress!
We think that his issues stem from not having been taught early in life what the rules of the road are for a well-behaved Lab, but he's learning that now.
He's a super sweet dog, very treat motivated and eager to please. His progress early in his program is just amazing. He's working in a local park with lots of dogs and other distractions, learning how to interact appropriately with other dogs as well as how to ignore them, and he's responding well to commands like Sit and Watch Me.
Please contact Rescue Rep Debbi at email@example.com. In your email please tell me about your experience with Labs, and the kind of Lab you are looking for.
2-year-old, spayed female yellow Lab mix, 55 lbs.
Peaches is a player! She loves racing in circles with her 1-year-old BFF, swimming, exploring, and DINNER! A growing girl, she's eager to chow down, but is learning to wait her turn (Sit, Stay, Okay). She's working on Down and Come. Peaches is attentive and intelligent, hence responsive to training. She is a dog park regular, and would be a great companion for running, hiking, and/or the beach. She needs regular, serious exercise, which previous owners weren't able to provide. A home with other canines and space in which to play would be great. Her energy level would suit active, athletic owners as well.
If you are interested in Peaches, call, text, or email Rescue Rep Dave, 415-686-4248, firstname.lastname@example.org.
4-mo.-old, to-be-spayed black Lab mix, 28 lbs.
Born October 9, Lily and her sister (recently adopted) came from an "oopsie" litter and were surrendered to us by the owner of two Labs he said were the parents. The pups look mixed, though, so it's likely they have a different dad. Initially Lily was skittish and quite afraid. But, within a day, she was acting like she owned the place. Lily is a rambunctious puppy with tons of energy and lots of love. Like any puppy of her age, she is curious, mischievous and so cute. Lily has long legs and good sized feet, I have no doubt that she will be a good-sized adult. Lily enjoys playing with other dogs, kids, adults...!
If you are interested in Lily, please contact Rescue Rep please email Kris at email@example.com.
10-year-old, neutered male black Lab mix, 60 lbs.
der is a very friendly Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd mix. He is being re homed due to no fault of his own, his previous owner has health issues and is no longer able to walk him. He is good with small children and other dogs, however he has never been socialized with cats and will chase them. He loves going for walks and playing with toys that have a squeaker. He also likes to play catch and likes to swim too. Most of all, he loves spending time near his humans. He knows a trick or two, he will shake and roll over and play dead if you say bang bang. Ryder is very gentle and loving, but still a very active, goofy boy. He is crate and house trained and has perfect manners...unless you leave any food out.
If you are interested in Ryder, call, text, or email Rescue Rep Katy, 650-796-3596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oso came to GGLRR when a vet refused the owners' family's request to put him down. He had too much life left in him, the vet said.
Three years later Oso is still loving life with new guardians Dave and Wendy.
Izzy's owner surrendered her shortly after moving to the Bay Area because Izzy and the housemate's dogs weren't a good fit. Izzy, 10, is now settling in to country living in Auburn with her new family, which includes mom, dad, grandpa, a llama and a sheep. #NailedIt!
Did you even catch this adorable chocolate on our website? She went fast, never even making it out of foster. Foster mom Wendy kept Pumpkin all for herself. Pumpkin seems okay with it.
"Can you foster me?"
We are always looking for foster homes in the Bay Area.
If you know anyone who would like to take a lab in for a few weeks please let us know.
Other Areas of Need
Pet Fair Help
Other Great Ways to Help Us Help Labs...
We are now part of Amazon Smile's program online. Anything you buy on Amazon, you can also buy on Amazon Smile and a small portion of your purchase will be donated to GGLRR. Just go to Amazon Smile and designate "Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc" as your selected charity. It's so easy to do and it would mean a lot to the Labs.
GGLRR also has an Amazon Wish List!
If you are on Amazon and want to buy something for the Labs, please check out our WishList!
Tell us what you think!
If you have not already taken the 2019 GGLRR Volunteer Survey, please do so soonest. Check your email inbox (or spam/junk email folder) for Survey Monkey emails from Jan 25th, Feb 8th, and Feb 19th that contain the link to the survey.
PRIDE SHIRTS, limited quantities
GOOD Boy & GOOD Girl options both in black
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*Adorable pet videos for all your weekday needs.