‘Horrific’: vet issues plea after string of poisonings
Dogs have been getting high but it’s no laughing matter warn local vets.
Much-loved family pet Maple is one of several dogs treated at Bellingen Veterinary Hospital that have presented with similar symptoms.
Maple’s owner Taja Steinbeck was distraught and thought perhaps she had picked up a tick while walking in the bush near the cemetery on the northside of the Bellingen River.
The cavoodle was shaking and unable to walk or stand up. When Taja took her to the vet she was told Maple was high; and they expected it was from eating human faeces (poo).
Dr Pam Byron works at the clinic and says she has treated four dogs in the past eight months for what she firmly believes is marijuana toxicity.
“And they have thrown up human faeces – it’s every bit as horrific as it sounds. One owner found toilet paper nearby and the clinical signs are pretty convincingly that it’s marijuana toxicity.”
It causes many nasty side effects like loss of bladder and bowel control, vomiting and shaking and dogs can become so sedated they can choke.
According to Dr Byron up to 90 per cent of the THC from marijuana ingested by humans can be excreted in the faeces in about three days so it’s potentially very dangerous to dogs who come across it and – as dogs tend to do – eat it.
It took Maple almost two days to recover and during that time she could not eat or drink and lost bladder control.
Dr Byron said when marijuana was legalised in parts of the USA cases increased in some areas by as much as 500 per cent.
“It’s also reported in a lot in places with high rates of homelessness like San Francisco; and here in Bellingen we have a housing crisis.”
Last week Bellingen Shire Councillors voted unanimously to declare the situation is at a crisis point, and for the state and federal governments to step up.
Dr Byron has issued the following warning:
“If you see your dog eat something mysterious in the park and when you run over, you see toilet paper scattered over the ground the sooner you can get into the vet before they show signs the better the chance we can make them vomit.
“Now, if your dog has gotten into marijuana in some other way, it is always best to tell your vet, they will not judge you and it can make a big difference with diagnostics and treatment if we know from the beginning what we are looking at.
“As a personal plea – if you find yourself in the bush or on a walking track, high, and needing to poop … please try and bury it. Dog vomit is gross enough without human poo.”
Originally published as ‘Horrific’: vet issues plea after string of poisonings