File photo of Cornell University

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AUGUST 26, 2015 — As restrictions on marijuana are relaxed across the US, more and more pets will live in households where the drug is present. That can lead to trouble, says Dr. Robert Goggs, an emergency and critical care specialist at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Goggs says:

“The most common cause of toxicity is through the pet eating the owner’s marijuana supply, especially hash brownies. Dogs are more commonly affected because they are less discriminating about food, but both cats and dogs are susceptible to the effects. Exposure through secondhand smoke is possible but less likely.”

“Marijuana can kill your pet. It’s uncommon, but it could happen with medical-grade concentrated THC products.”

“Common signs of marijuana toxicity include depression, salivation, dilated pupils, difficulty walking, vomiting, dribbling urine, tremors, low body temperature and a slow heart rate. High doses may cause more severe nervous system signs like agitation and seizures.”

“The signs of marijuana toxicity can resemble a number of other more serious toxins and a range of underlying diseases. If in doubt, seek veterinary attention.”

He does not recommend treating an ailing pet with medical marijuana:

“Veterinarians have access to a wide range of medications designed for use in animals that we know are safe, effective and inexpensive. There isn’t a safe dose for marijuana in dogs or cats. Why experiment with a drug that may not help and might cause harm, when you can readily obtain safe and effective drugs instead?”

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