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Marijuana toxicity in Pets

medical marijuana albuquerque pets

medical marijuana albuquerque petsNew Mexico is one of the many states that have legal medical marijuana and may become one of the next ones for legal recreational marijuana. With the increase in legal marijuana usage, it is good to be aware of some of the issues your pet could experience. In the past 6 years, the Pet Poison Helpline has experiences and increase of 448% in calls related to marijuana.

Let’s talk terminology, because if you are new to marijuana usage, you may not know what the different terms mean.

Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica- these are often also simply called Sativa or Indica, are the strains of marijuana used for recreational purposes.

THC and CBD- These are the two chemicals that are most recognized and used in the cannabis plants. THC is psychotropic and used for recreation and CBD is non-psychotropic. The amount of cannabinoid in a strain of cannabis plant varies from plant to plant.

There are many medical benefits to using marijuana. We are not recommending or endorsing the usage. But more people are turning to medical marijuana to help treat their medical conditions or symptoms from other medications. When using it for medicinal purposes, it does not have the psychotropic affects of recreational strains.

Though there is research being done about the medicinal use of marijuana with pets, it is still not a practice that is widely accepted. You should never give your pet marijuana, medicinally or recreationally. Their bodies process the cannabinoid differently than yours and it can cause damage.

Pets can be poisoned by marijuana by either ingesting it by eating an edible or the marijuana in any form (bud, oil, glass, etc) or through second-hand smoke. They are more likely to get sick from ingesting it than from second-hand smoke, but this does not mean that the smoke may not affect them negatively.

Symptoms of marijuana toxicity

  • Lethargy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Glassed over eyes
  • Dazed expression
  • Difficulty walking
  • Vomiting.
  • Low or high heart rate
  • Whining or crying
  • Agitation
  • Trouble regulating body temperature
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma.

You can see signs of toxicity anywhere from 5 minutes to 12 hours after exposure. The symptoms can last from 30 minutes to many days.

If you think that your dog may have been poisoned from marijuana call the pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661 or call your Albuquerque vet.


Pets and Air Quality

New mexico emergency evacuation

New mexico emergency evacuationNew Mexico is prone to wildfires. The worse the drought the worse the fire season. This is something we all combat with good fire safety. But just like us, if there is a fire, and we get exposed to smoke and ash, it can cause breathing problems. The level of risk for breathing problems due to ash or smoke exposure is relative to the density of the smoke and the health of the person or pet.

Dogs with brachycephalic, which refers to a skull structure of dogs with pushed in faces like pugs and bull dogs, are not at more risk of damage from smoke inhalation. Though they have more soft tissue in their throats and smaller diameter windpipes, this is not where smoke causes damage. Smoke causes damage when small particles that are floating in the smoke, aka ash, find their way into the airway branches of the lungs. This can lead to pneumonia or respiratory collapse.

If you find yourself in an area with smoke from a fire, it is a good idea to remove yourself and your pets until the smoke has cleared.

Smoke causes a very serious issue for people and pets who have underlying medical conditions like asthma, bronchitis, heart conditions or lung conditions like COPD. When it is really hot outside, it can make it more difficult to breathe if you suffer from another underlying health condition and it is better to stay inside.  For dogs that are brachycephalic or squished faces, it is better to keep them in during the hot weather because they have a harder time moving air through their windpipes which make it harder for them to cool down.

If you have questions about any breathing issues with your pet, please make an appointment with your Albuquerque vet to find out what is going on and if you need treatment.

How dirty is your pets mouth?

Dog Dental Disease

Dog Dental DiseaseDid you know you can tell a lot about your dog’s health by looking inside his mouth? Though a dog’s mouth is never truly clean, meaning there are bacteria in there, it can be really dirty if not taken care of.


Healthy Gums: Gums are the first line of defense for a healthy mouth. You can lift your dog’s lips to see their gums and check out their health. Healthy gums will be pink, moist and without any spots. If they are gray, spotty or swollen then there is likely a health issue and you should bring your dog to see your vet for a dental check up.

Healthy Teeth: Healthy teeth lead to healthy eating. If your dog has decaying and rotting teeth, or a lot of cavities, this can keep them from wanting to eat which can result in sudden weight loss. Rotting teeth is also painful and can cause personality changes in your dog. Not to mention the bad breath. If your dog suddenly is reluctant to eat hard food, it may be time to look at their teeth to see if there is an underlying issue.

Bad Breath: Yes dogs have bad breath. But there are levels to typical doggy breath and BAD breath. If your dog’s mouth smells like something is dying in there it is likely because they are having teeth rot. No matter what you feed them, or how many charcoal biscuits you give them, it will not fix the smell that comes from rotting teeth. Bad breath is one of the fastest ways to detect an issue in your dog’s dental health.

If your dog has incredibly bad breath, swollen, gray or spotty gums, or you see their teeth rotting, you need to bring them in for a dental check up. It is possible it is time for a professional dental cleaning or even tooth removal. You can also do preventative dental care by brushing your dogs teeth weekly. If you are not sure how to do that, read our post on how to brush your dog’s teeth.


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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.