Marijuana brownie almost does in dog | June 26, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - June 26, 2009

Marijuana brownie almost does in dog

Doctors says more pets being found ingesting drugs

by Geoff Gillette

Living near one of the bike paths and trails that crisscross Danville proved to be more curse than blessing for one family, as drugs believed to have been thrown into their yard sent a beloved pet to the hospital.

Renee Morgan said she noticed something wrong with her 2-year-old poodle, Saydy, on Wednesday night after she returned home from work.

"She was acting fairly strange," she said. Minutes later, Morgan's daughter also noticed the dog's behavior.

"I took a closer look," Morgan said. "She was obviously sick, lethargic and shaking."

The family took the pet to the Concord Veterinary Emergency Center, where she was admitted. Doctors were unable to determine initially what was causing the odd behavior and the dog continued to deteriorate, heart rate and blood pressure lowering.

The dog was kept overnight and blood work was done. Morgan said she was shocked the next day to hear what doctors found.

"It came back positive for marijuana," she stated. The doctor said it was probably in brownies since Saydy also showed signs of having ingested chocolate.

Morgan added that the doctor told her such cases are not uncommon, especially in areas near the trail system where people sometimes throw items into people's yards or feed them directly to friendly dogs.

Emergency Center veterinarian Dr. Daryl Schawel said that cases of animals being given drugs or accidentally consuming drugs run in spurts but when the cycle is on the upswing they could see as many as 10 cases in a week.

"Since the economy has turned down, we've been seeing more of it," Schewal said. He added that marijuana is becoming more and more potent so is becoming more dangerous to dogs. Also when humans give drugs to an animal, the pet's smaller body weight means it will feel the effects to a greater degree.

In many cases, the drugs may have been baked into brownies before being given to the pet, or sometimes medical marijuana that comes in a pseudo-candy bar has been eaten mistakenly by dogs.

Common symptoms of a dog that has been dosed with marijuana are a very low heart rate, low blood pressure, lethargy, confusion and involuntary urination. Schewal said in one instance, a small breed dog's vital signs sank to the point where it was necessary to put it on a ventilator to keep it breathing.

Schewal said cases of this sort are generally not malicious in nature. He said his experience has been situations where drugs are dumped to avoid discovery, or people holding a party may attempt to get the pet intoxicated.

Danville police said they have received no reports of dogs being poisoned or given drugs. They said any person who has experienced such an event should file a report.

The Morgans received good news and bad news Thursday. The good news was that Saydy would survive; the bad news was that the bill for the pet's treatment would be $1,500.


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