Pets Ingesting More Cannabis Since Legalization in Canada

The legalization of cannabis has led to more toxicosis in pets, according to University of Guelph research published in PLOS ONE.

Researchers surveyed more than 200 North American veterinarians, mostly Canadian, who self-reported over three months in 2021.

Dogs were the animal most often ingesting cannabis. Cats, iguanas, ferrets, horses and cockatoos were all reported to have experienced cannabis toxicosis, based on clinical signs, history of cannabis exposure and urine tests.

Most pet owners did not know where their animals encountered it, according to the data, although some vets reported exposure from discarded joints, human feces, cannabis-infused butter or oil, and compost.

Edibles were the most common cause of toxicosis, with animals ingesting cannabis while unattended.

Although most of the animals had a complete recovery, suggesting no long-term effects, some deaths were reported, said lead researcher Dr. Jibran Khokhar, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the Ontario
Veterinary College.

Increased toxicosis may reflect not increasing human use of cannabis but more reporting to veterinarians when animals are exposed, he said.

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