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Study shows dogs ingesting marijuana on rise

3:16 PM, Apr 6, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER- Chances are you have heard about the effects of marijuana on humans, but what about dogs? A new study by CSU shows the number of dogs eating marijuana and going to the emergency room has quadrupled since 2005. The research even says two animals died and marijuana was a factor.

Doctors say the real issue is with the edibles items. Dogs are eating things like cakes, cookies, brownies and suckers that are all laced with marijuana. Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald with Alameda East Veterinary Hospital says he sees these cases multiple times a week.

"They may be stumbling," Fitzgerald said. "They're wobbly, they might not eat. [They are] sleepy. In a state where marijuana is much more available, we see higher incidents of marijuana intoxication, we have seen as the number of medical marijuana licenses increased over the years, we saw those numbers of dogs eating the marijuana increased. They seemed to be correlated."

Stacey Meola is one of the authors of the study. She says over the course of five years, she has seen two dogs die from what she calls a marijuana-related death.

"They can't actually protect their gag reflex which is the reflex when you vomit that keeps you from aspirating that down into your lungs," Meola said. "Marijuana absolutely contributed to the death in these two dogs, but I would not go so far as to say it killed these two dogs."

Meola says because the dogs are ingesting food with high amounts of butter and oil, they are naturally more susceptible to vomiting. When those products have marijuana in them, the dog becomes sleepy and sometimes in a comatose-like state. If they vomit, it's likely they can choke in this state.

Doctors say if your dog eats marijuana it's important to being them into a vet hospital right away. Dr. Fitzgerald says there is a two-hour window for when the stomach can be cleared to avoid further side effects.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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