More dogs are being brought to a local Victoria veterinary clinic after cannabis was legalized (Black Press File Photo)

Island veterinarians see spike in animals consuming cannabis since legalization

Doctors at the Downtown Veterinary Clinic warn owners to watch their pets when near dispensaries

The number of animals coming to local veterinarians for cannabis consumption has spiked since the substance was legalized in October.

This is especially true at Victoria’s Downtown Veterinary Clinic, said Dr. Martha Hall, since the clinic is situated near most of the city’s operating dispensaries.

“It’s been a significant increase, before we used to only see a case or two per year,” Hall said. “Since October we’ve seen probably at least five or six, so it’s at least doubled or tripled.”

WATCH: Vets lobby to expand medical cannabis laws to include dogs, cats

Most of the time owners report that their dog found the cannabis while walking around the downtown area, with most saying their pet ate the butt of a joint somewhere near a dispensary.

Common symptoms of cannabis consumption include lethargy, wobbliness, incontinence and dilated pupils, while more severe cases include vomiting and tremors.

“If it’s more of a concern that it’s significant toxicity, we may make the animal throw up if they consumed it recently,” Hall said. “If it’s been awhile, we’ll give them charcoal to help absorb any remaining toxins and likely hydrate them with an IV.”

ALSO READ: 14 RCMP sniffer dogs forced into early retirement due to cannabis legalization

For milder cases, the owner may be asked to bring the animal home to a quiet, safe space and continue to monitor them until the effects wear off.

Hall said that there have not been records of animal death in relation to cannabis consumption, though extremely high doses have been linked to causing seizures.

“If you’re walking a dog near a dispensary, be mindful of what’s around,” Hall said. “If you have cannabis at home, make sure it’s somewhere your pet can’t access it.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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