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C.O. dogs get marijuana poisoning while out and about


It may be an unexpected side-effect of the decision to legalize marijuana in Oregon: People rushing their dogs to the vet, unsure what’s wrong.

We’ve heard dogs sometimes get into people’s marijuana edibles, but two Central Oregon families were shocked after their dogs became ill from the substance, when they don’t use it themselves.

The moment Evie and Cliff Hill adopted Petey, he brightened their lives. So as you can imagine, it was a terrifying experience to find the puppy sick.

“His world was not right,” Cliff Hill said .

“Our world was not right,” Evie Conrad-Hill added.

Cliff said he came home after a fishing trip with Petey and his nephew at North Twin Lake. In 15 minutes, Petey began to act differently. The puppy couldn’t walk straight, his eyes were glazed over, but he was eating more than usual.

Cliff thought this little guy was having seizures and rushed him from their home in La Pine to an emergency pet hospital in Bend.

“His heart beat was real slow,” Cliff said. “He was breathing really, really slowly, and he couldn’t hold up his poor little head.”

So what was wrong with Petey?

Evie said, “We didn’t know what was going on. Never in our wildest dreams did we think marijuana was involved — not even in the ballpark.”.

A vet at the Animal Emergency Center in Bend said it’s not a rare occurrence. He’s seen the number of marijuana-poisoned dogs rise over the last few years.

“It seems like we are getting a lot of cases where people or dogs are getting exposed in campgrounds and other areas, where people are maybe recreating,” said Dr. Gordon Bunting.

There are treatments, and dogs usually don’t show serious signs and symptoms for hours.

“In some ways, it’s nice, because it tends to be less toxic,” Bunting said. “But we’ve definitely had some dogs primarily that have been really affected and have been almost comatose for several days.”

It took two days for Petey to fully recover. Bunting said it usually takes 12 to 48 hours for a dog to return to normal, but the marijuana can stay in their system much longer.

He said dogs are more sensitive to marijuana’s active ingredient, THC — and when they are small, the effects are more dramatic.

“The edibles are really, really concentrated. And you know, dogs, labs especially are not known for portion control,” Bunting said.

Petey is doing well now, spunky as ever, at 5 1/2 months. He was found at Pilot Butte in a box, then put up for adoption.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Petey. He was featured on NewsChannel 21, and the Hills instantly knew he was theirs.

Some of the symptoms for marijuana ingestion by dogs include wobbly walking, dripping urine, hypothermia, a low heart rate and intense reactions to visual stimulation. If you’re concerned your dog consumed marijuana, bring them to a vet immediately.

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