Lost dog goes on a frenzy when away from home and has to be treated for both marijuana and chocolate poisoning
Jake Carrigan of Hutchinson, Minnesota, recently was at work when his brother sent him an alarming text. Someone posted a picture of a lost dog on Facebook that closely resembled his dog Dozer and that he was potentially hit by a car. Carrigan drove to the location of where the person had seen the dog, but he didn’t appear to be there.
Carrigan had to return to work, so he asked his neighbor, Jay, to open Carrigan's garage door in case Dozer came back. The neighbor went to search for the dog as well and discovered he was in a patch of tall grass by trees. Because Dozer wouldn't let Jay get close to him, Jay sent Carrigan the exact location.
"When I found him, he couldn't walk," Carrigan explained, in a Pet Poison Helpline release.1 "He bit at my hand when I went to pick him up, which he would never normally do. I knew there was something wrong, so I immediately took him to our veterinarian."
According to Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, when Dozer arrived at Lifelong Veterinary Clinic, he was incapable of moving his rear limbs, was dull, and hypersensitive. "Abdominal x-rays revealed that the stomach was full, so the medical team induced emesis and found about a pound and a half of what they determined was chocolate brownies containing marijuana,” she explained.
Schmid added that marijuana exposure in pets has become more prevalent as states legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana. Over a 6 year period, the Pet Poison Helpline reported a 448% increase in marijuana poisoning in companion animals.2 Clinical signs of marijuana poisoning in dogs include stumbling and crossing over feet, dull and lethargic, dilated pupils, urinary incontinence, vomiting, tremors and shaking, and agitation.3
"The veterinarian told me that after they emptied his stomach, the entire clinic smelled like a marijuana dispensary," shared Carrigan. "The whole situation was weird. I don't know if he snuck into someone's house, or if someone fed him the brownies. Maybe they were cooling outside, and he helped himself. I asked my neighbor who I suspect might indulge in such brownies, and he said they didn't come from his house."
Chocolate poisoning from the brownies was also a concern. Schmid said in the release1 that the severity of chocolate poisoning is dependent on the type and amount of chocolate ingested and the pet’s size. "Also, be aware that some chocolate products may contain other toxins such as macadamia nuts, raisins, coffee or expresso beans or xylitol,” she noted. “Ingestion in toxic amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures. Death is possible, but rare if the pet receives prompt and appropriate treatment. Interestingly, dogs make up 95% of our chocolate calls."