Pets & Companion Animals Articles
Cannabis Toxicity in Dogs
Cannabis Toxicity in Dogs
Stuart Badger BVSc
In the words of the old song, can a pet “take a trip and never leave the farm”, even in this Covid-19 era of travel restrictions?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. More and more frequently we are presented with dogs who are acting strangely and who are known to, or suspected of having ingested, someone’s stash of marijuana or products containing cannabis derivatives.
Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brain than humans do which means they are more susceptible to THC toxicity.
While dogs can be profoundly affected, fortunately the minimum lethal dose of THC in dogs is still quite high, but deaths can occur with the more potent plant material around today, the large amounts of material some dogs will eat (see photo), and the availability of medicinal grade cannabis products.
In dogs the clinical symptoms typically begin 30-90 minutes after ingestion and because THC is stored in the boy’s fat deposits, the effects can last for several days.
Symptoms include incoordination, listlessness, dilated pupils, a very slow heart rate, excessive drooling, urinary incontinence, a jumpy “startle reaction”, and in severe cases tremors, convulsions and coma.
Technically urine testing, as used in humans, can confirm diagnosis, but in suspect cases we normally just induce vomiting (see photo of results of a recent case in Hastings from a local farm for the sheer amount a dog can eat sometimes!), control of anxiety and fluid support.
Why would we alert you to this type of poisoning? Usually the neighbour is blamed for the Cannabis source!, but from our point of view the important things is if questioned it is helpful to have confirmed if you suspect Cannabis could be possibly available to the animal, so we can target our treatment accurately. Our sole focus is on helping the patient presented to us and the source of the poisoning is not our concern.
Read more >Wednesday 23rd of September 2020: Worms are a concern for all cats and dogs but the risk is much higher for puppies, kittens and immunocompromised animals (due to illness, age or medication). In puppies and kittens, severe worm burdens
Read more >Wednesday 23rd of September 2020: what is making your pet itch â€“ is it fleas, contact allergies, food, airborne allergies, hormonal issue effecting the skin, bacterial or fungal infection? Subtle differences may be diagnostic, Bridgette Karetai explains
Read more >Wednesday 23rd of September 2020: Siobhan Ellis outlines what you need to consider when desexing your dog.
Read more >Tuesday 16th of June 2020: Urinary tract disorders are very common in cats and dogs and are a regular part of our case load here at Vet Services Hawkes Bay.
Read Neil's article here to learn more about urinary tract disorders and the signs you need to watch out forÂ
Read more >Tuesday 16th of June 2020: Vicki Gilchrist outlines rat bait poisoning and what to look out for
Read more >Tuesday 16th of June 2020: The silent sufferer, Sharne Boys. As vets and as owners we are very aware of osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs. However, recognition of this condition in cats is often a lot later in the piece than in their canine counterparts.
Read more >Monday 18th of November 2019: Many people know the importance of insuring their items, their house or car, even their own health. Fortunately we are also able to insure pets, for not only medical and surgical care but in some cases routine visits can be covered (including vaccinations and wellness checks/blood tests).
Read more >Monday 18th of November 2019: Retired Working Dogs NZ is a registered charity that works to find homes for working farm dogs if they are unable to work due to age, injury or have no interest in stock. Retired pig dogs and hunting dogs are also included!
Read more >Monday 18th of November 2019: New regulations are in force meaning that if you leave your dog in a parked car and it is showing signs of heat distress you can receive a fine and a broken car window. Dogs quickly suffer and die in hot cars, so please leave your dogs at home.
Read more >Monday 18th of November 2019: We always fear losing our pets. Nevertheless, sometimes it is inevitable that we need to make this decision.
We hope this article helps answer any questions you may have and gives you a better understanding of what to expect for you, your family and your precious pet when it comes time to make that decision.
Read more >Monday 18th of November 2019: Dogs do not perspire the way humans do; in fact, the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet. Dogs pant to cool themselves. If the surrounding air is not considerably cooler than the animals' body temperature - as in the case of a hot, stuffy automobile - the cooling system will not work and heatstroke can occur.
Read more >Thursday 5th of September 2019: To be skinny despite continuously eating, is that not the dream for a lot of people? Unfortunately for our furry friends it can be a sign of something more sinister lurking beneath the surface - hyperthyroidism.
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: What is this disease we are talking about, that in some cases, you may not even know is happening in your own dog until she becomes very sick and compromisedâ€¦.
Pyometra (pyo) is effectively a pus filled uterus that can develop in an ovary intact bitch.
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: Much like the human population, companion animals are becoming increasingly overweight. In New Zealand the statistics are alarmingly high and a significant proportion of the patients we see on a day to day basis are overweight.
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: Middle aged to older cats can suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). It occurs when a cat's arterial blood pressure is continually higher than normal. This can be the result of worsening renal function or hyperthyroidism (elevation in thyroid hormone) but mostly we just don't know why it happens.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: General stiffness, slowing down, difficulty rising... Is it just old age? Our senior pets may show subtle signs or be quite obvious in their attempts to tell us about their problems.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Vaccinating every year against the deadly Calici Virus is extreamly important.
We have had confirmed cases of the disease in Hawkes Bay within un-vaccinated rabbits, which unfortunately resulted in death.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Diabetes Mellitus is a disease condition where either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly and causing insulin resistance.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Pet ownership is very rewarding but the decision should not be taken lightly as it is a long term and substantial responsibility.
When choosing your next puppy there are many things to consider; preferably a happy and healthy puppy and you should also think about the adult size and type of nature that will suit your family and lifestyle.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Duck shooting doesn't seem to cause many concerns for our canine companions, usually only a few cuts and bruises that are insignificant compared to the enjoyment derived from the exercise.
However getting damp in water for long periods can give rise to a flare up of ear disease (otitis externa).
Some dogs seem prone to this, often due to an underlying skin allergy or just the makeup of their ear anatomy. Prolonged moisture in the ears promotes growth of yeasts and bacteria leading to irritation, inflammation and pain. This, left untreated, can lead to more serious middle ear disease that is hard to treat and deafness.
Read more >Friday 30th of November 2018:
Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: Dogs, like us, have two sets of teeth during their lives. The deciduous (baby) teeth appear shortly after birth and are replaced by the permanents at around four to six months of age. Deciduous teeth cause few problems except where they are retained beyond about eight months of age. If this occurs, displacement of the erupting permanents may result.
Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: When a flea bites, its saliva causes the dog to itch. Fleas not only cause skin problems for dogs and us but can also cause other disease such as anaemia, flea allergy dermatitis and tapeworms.
Read more >Friday 28th of September 2018: During the spring and summer months we see high numbers of dogs with itchy skin.In the past, the only way to manage atopy (itchy skin) was through medications such as steroids and antihistamines but Royal Canin nutritionists and veterinarians have developed a new Prescription Diet specially formulated to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs.
Read more >Friday 2nd of March 2018:
Read more >Friday 22nd of December 2017: Tetanus is a condition that is caused by bacteria called, Clostridium tetani. The bacteria infects wounds where there is little to no oxygen and produces a toxin that affects nerves (neurotoxin) in a way that prevents muscles from relaxing, thus causing stiffness.
Read more >Monday 18th of December 2017: This year has raced with speed, and another Christmas is coming up soon. We all know what that means; ham, roast and all sorts to satisfy the taste buds.
Read more >Monday 18th of December 2017: At this time of year care needs to be taken with dogs around streams, rivers and lakes due to the possibility of algal blooms.
Read more >Monday 18th of December 2017: It's this time of year that we are concerned about our furry companions overheating. Any dog is at risk of heat stroke but particularly brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds and dogs with a long or thick hair coat.
Read more >Thursday 5th of October 2017: As of October 2018, the non-therapeutic docking of dogs tails will be prohibited in New Zealand.
Read more >Tuesday 3rd of October 2017: Vaccinations are designed to prevent your pet from contracting diseases. We have a few different vaccines available in NZ based on what diseases pose a risk to your dog.
Read more >Tuesday 3rd of October 2017: During the spring and summer months we see a high number of dogs with itchy skin.
In the past, the only way to manage atopy (itchy skin) was through medications such as antihistamines and steroids but Hill's nutritionists and veterinarians have developed a new Prescription Diet specially formulated to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs.
Read more >Wednesday 27th of September 2017: It seems like companies are bringing out new flea products every few months these days, and even we find it hard to keep up! Here is an overview of the products we have in store.
Read more >Tuesday 11th of July 2017: Kennel Cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of dogs accumulate, such as boarding and daycare facilities and dog parks.
Read more >Tuesday 11th of July 2017: As our pets age dental disease can start to set in. We often start noticing signs from around the age of 5 (which equates to around 35 in human years). Dental disease can affect the internal organs and the overall health of your pet. There are some measures you can take to help slow or prolong the effects of dental disease at home.
Read more >Friday 23rd of June 2017: A common emergency condition that we see at a vet clinic is the cat with a 'blocked bladder' (urethral obstruction). They often present to us as a cat that is in pain due to an unknown cause. The owner may find them hiding in the garden or under a bed and suspect that the cat has had some sort of trauma.
Read more >Friday 23rd of June 2017: In recent weeks we have been presented with several cases of rabbit haemorrhagic diseases. This is a viral condition which is unfortunately deadly to pet bunnies.
Read more >Friday 23rd of June 2017: It is important to Vet Services that you understand what happens to your pet when they come to us for surgery. We appreciate that you may feel anxious leaving your pet and we hope the following will help ease any concern you may have.
Read more >Tuesday 28th of March 2017: A few months ago I was presented with a 7 year old male cat Beau who had been weak, lethargic and drinking more than usual for about 3 weeks at home. Closer examination revealed very weak and floppy muscles with an almost distended abdomen. Blood and urine tests then showed elevated blood glucose confirming my suspicion that this boy had developed diabetes mellitus.
Read more >Tuesday 28th of March 2017: Being from South Africa it was relatively easy diagnosing the cause of severe anaemia in dogs as almost always it was due to a blood parasite called Babesia (which we don't have in New Zealand), and if it wasn't that then the chances were good that it was due to an auto immune disease called Auto Immune Haemolytic Anaemia or IMHA for short.
Read more >Tuesday 28th of March 2017: What is wellness testing?
Wellness testing is the term given to a group of tests that is performed specifically to detect signs of early disease in a pet that is apparently healthy.
Read more >Tuesday 28th of March 2017: General stiffness, slowing down, difficulty rising... Is it just old age? Our senior pets may show subtle signs or be quite obvious in their attempts to tell us about their problems. One of these problems that we commonly see is arthritis.
Read more >Friday 20th of January 2017: The 'New Zealand Cattle Tick' or 'Bush Tick', as an adult, is a red-brown, 8-legged tick visible with the naked eye from 3x2mm to around 9x7mm (whne it's full of feed). Larval and nymph (juvenile) stages are much smaller (but still visible) with 6 legs and a dark to black colour. It is known as the three-host-tick as it transitions through three stages from larvae to nymph to adult by attaching to a host, engorging by sucking blood, then dropping back onto the ground and repeating through the stages.
Read more >Tuesday 13th of December 2016: The case of an overweight pet visiting the vet clinic is an all too common theme. Furthermore, the majority are visiting for health reasons that could be prevented if these animals were at their ideal weight.
Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: Cushing's is a hormonal disease state caused by the excessive production of cortisol, one of the "fight or flight" hormones produced by the adrenal glands.
Normally, when the cortisol level of blood is low, a gland in the brain (called the pituitary gland) secretes a stimulating hormone (ACTH) to tell the adrenal glands to produce and release more cortisol. Once blood cortisol levels are high enough again, it inhibits further secretion of ACTH by the brain. In this way the body keeps blood cortisol levels balanced.
Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: Summer is here and so are those nasty seeds that stick into anything, anywhere, any time.
Apart from it being painful to our four footed companions when these seeds burrow into them, it can pose important health risks too. In clinic we have experienced their migration into different areas of the animal, each with their own complications.
Read more >Thursday 8th of December 2016: With summer just around the corner we thought it appropriate to give our clients some information on heat stroke, what to look out for and what to do should it happen.
Heat stroke occurs when your pet's internal temperature rises abnormally high above 39 C. because he/she is unable to lose excess heat through normal processes: mainly panting and radiation of heat into the surrounding environment.
Read more >Tuesday 1st of November 2016: With the warmer months just around the corner it's time to once again consider the dreaded flea. Fleas can be a real problem over the warmer months, but it all starts now!
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: Desexing our pets is an important part of responsible pet ownership. As the days get longer and the nights get warmer, our pet cats will start to venture away from the fire and off the bed. More cats out and about means there is greater chance of unwanted pregnancies. Without any control in place, a single un-speyed female cat can produce up to 3 litters of kittens per year, with approximately 3-4 kittens per litter.
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With summer approaching, it is important to make sure your cat has a fresh water supply available at all times. Cats are not very good drinkers and partly as a result of this are susceptible to lower urinary tract inflammation or, even worse, kidney insufficiency which can lead to kidney failure.
Read more >Monday 12th of September 2016: With spring arriving we are starting to see more itchy dogs through the clinic doors. The main cause of this seasonal itch is allergy. Skin allergies can be divided into a number of causes including contact allergy, flea allergy, atopy and food allergy/intolerance.
Read more >Tuesday 23rd of August 2016: On 27 May 2016, Diana and Jerry Greer's Labrador, Tiggy, whelped and had 6 puppies. Unfortunately one was stillborn, which left five.
Two days after whelping Diana noticed that the firstborn puppy was losing weight and on closer inspection found that he had difficulty suckling.
On day three I offered to take him and attempt bottle feeding him and see if we could get him going again. When I arrived home I saw that he had a cleft palate. This is where the journey of 400g Olo and I started. Of course I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
Read more >Thursday 16th of June 2016: I have a habit of trying anything at least twice so when the National Aquarium asked if I liked reptiles, I was keen to get involved. The playing field changed somewhat when the reptile in question turned out to be an American Alligator, but I was definitely still enthused, so long as the staff were happy to restrain her
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Rat bait (rodenticide) poisoning is the most common poisoning we see in the clinic. It generally affects dogs as they are more readily ruled by their stomachs!
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Most cats and dogs over 3 years old will have evidence of dental disease. Dental conditions we commonly see in the clinic include peridontal disease, broken teeth, retained temporary teeth and feline resorptive lesions.
Read more >Tuesday 7th of June 2016: Ziggy is an active 7 year old Bichon Frise who's owner brought him into the clinic after noticing him urinating more often than usual but only being able to pass small amounts of blood tinged urine. He also seemed in pain and was not his usual bouncy self.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016:
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: There are many skin conditions that we see on a regular basis, one of the most common being Canine Atopy which is essentially itchy skin caused by allergies. The severity of the disease is variable and can range from mild itching and redness to more severe skin and ear infections.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Zac presented to the clinic with left hind-limb lameness of a short duration. We took x-rays of his hock region (ankle), as a swelling was found in this area. This showed an osteosarcoma or bone tumour, these tumors generally hold a very poor prognosis and we often have to amputate the leg (non curative but can extend life expectancy).
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Each week across our Napier, Waipukurau, Dannevirke and Masterton clinics our professional groomers are busy making dogs look pretty.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Vet visits can be the stuff of nightmares for cats, and their owners! All too often we see cats that arrive at the clinic having cried for the entire car trip, possibly soiled their cage, and that are generally very stressed. They then get examined, maybe injected, and get back into the cage for the stressful return trip home.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Barley Grass season is on its way and this pesky seed is a common problem for many dogs. Barley Grass seeds have a sharp barb at one end and are perfectly formed to penetrate skin and travel around the body. Spaniels and Beardies are at particular risk due to their hairy feet, but any dog can be affected.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Arthritis is one of the most common conditions we see in a variety of dog breeds and results in pain, loss of athletic ability, and worst case scenario euthanasia. Hip arthritis is common and can affect both young and old dogs. The primary cause of hip arthritis is excessive hip laxity otherwise known as hip dysplasia.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: For dogs, the use of effective vaccinations has meant that infectious diseases such as hepatitis and distemper, which previously used to kill large number of dogs, are now rarely seen. Unfortunately Parvo-virus is still often diagnosed and commonly causes death in younger puppies.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: Now is a good time for treating fleas! With the cooler months almost upon us, now is a good time to remember that year round treatment is essential for good control of the flea population.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: What should I feed my new puppy or kitten? What are the advantages of the premium diets? Should I feed my dog bones? How do I get my pet to lose weight?
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: At around the age of eight our pets are classified as "seniors". From then on it is extremely beneficial to have a yearly blood and urine sample taken and have these tested to see how your pet's organs are functioning, and establish if there is anything we can do medically to help prolong a happy and healthy life and prevent or slow the onset of disease.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: In recent times dental disease in cats and dogs has become a major component of a Vet's daily case load. This may be because we now better recognise the discomfort this causes for our usually uncomplaining patients and potential for further disease to result from it if allowed to go un-treated.
Read more >Friday 1st of April 2016: As we enter the time of year where a lot of chocolate is about, we often get phone calls from owners wondering what to do after their pet has possibly or almost certainly eaten some chocolate, or cocoa containing cakes and biscuits.