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Vets Seeing More Dogs Eating Edible Marijuana

DENVER (CBS4) – An animal hospital in Denver is seeing an increasing number of dogs who have eaten edible marijuana and is finding that the diagnosis isn't good.

VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours a day and they see hundreds of dogs every week from checkups to emergencies. Since Jan. 1 the clinic says dogs have been getting into their owner's supply of marijuana, specifically edibles.

"What we are seeing is dogs getting into the baked products," said Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald.

The concern is that edibles have a concentration of marijuana meant for controlled human consumption and dogs weigh far less than humans and have no control.

Kevin Fitzgerald
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of Alameda East Hospital (credit: CBS)

"The butter gets a higher concentration of THC, the active ingredient," said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald recently contributed to a year-long study in Colorado that tracked marijuana exposure in dogs. It causes symptoms ranging from disorientation to seizures and temporary comas.

"The one thing we see with almost all of them is urinary incontinence when they eat a bunch of it," said Fitzgerald.

Those symptoms don't just last hours, they last days.

"Half-life for a dog is 72 hours, maybe 96, before it gets out of their system," said Fitzgerald.

There's no antidote for marijuana but Fitzgerald said those worried about a pet's recent exposure have a limited amount of time to take action before it's too late.

"Don't wait. Your vet is as far away as the telephone," said Fitzgerald.

Doctors suggest that owners try and keep they're marijuana out of their pet's reach.

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