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New Jersey Veterinarians Discovering Unintended Consequence From Legalized Recreational Marijuana

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) -- As New Jersey marks one month since recreational cannabis was legalized, veterinarians are discovering an unintended consequence of easier access to marijuana.

Kristin Goldberg's dog Leia loves getting her nose in everything during her walks.

"Loves to explore and eat everything," Goldberg said.

But after walking around a West Deptford park two weeks ago, she seemed more tired than usual.

"Her head was bobbling. Her legs were weak," Goldberg said.

The Goldbergs took Leia to an animal urgent care, where vets diagnosed Leia with marijuana toxicosis.

"I was dumbfounded," Goldberg said.

She suspects Leia sniffed out cannabis left behind by someone at the park.

Rothman Animal Hospital's Dr. Monique Screnci is Leia's veterinarian. She says in the last three weeks, they've seen more dogs with marijuana toxicosis.

"Especially the edible products are a big concern for us because they smell tasty," Screnci said.

Some of the symptoms are similar to humans.

"They may be a little bit lethargic. They may look in-coordinated or wobbly," Screnci said. "In some cases, they'll dribble urine."

Because she needed more intensive care, Leia got treated here at Mount Laurel Animal Hospital.

"Treatment is largely supportive. Typically fluids, some anti-nausea medication, medications to undergo vertigo," Dr. Joseph Snock said.

Thankfully, nearly all dogs make a full recovery, including Leia.

"She's definitely back to her old self and her old tricks," Goldberg said.

Vets say one positive of legalization is people are more willing to admit their dog ingested marijuana. Sometimes vets use over-the-counter human drug tests to see if a dog tests positive for marijuana, but vets say these tests require a lot of urine, which small dogs don't have. They say why being honest with them is best for you and your dog.

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