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Bend veterinarian seeing uptick in marijuana affecting dogs

(Update: Adding video, more details from Dr. Loomis, affected dog owner)

Brookswood Animal Clinic has treated three cases this week alone

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Over the past three days, the Brookswood Animal Clinic in Bend has treated three dogs who came in looking drowsy and uncoordinated -- all signs of mild marijuana toxicity.

Dr. Ruth Loomis, owner of the clinic, told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday the uptick in dogs affected by marijuana has been happening for about a year.

"Since people are spending so much time outdoors right now due to COVID, I think a lot of people are engaging in smoking marijuana and using edibles outdoors -- and pets are finding these," Dr. Loomis said. "Even a small amount, if you think about a 30-pound dog, even a remnant of a marijuana cigarette is enough to create a rather significant effect."

James Ohrt, who lives in southwest Bend, said he recently had to take his dog to see Loomis for signs of marijuana toxicity. However, at the time, he did not know why Furgus, his 2 1/2-year-old miniature schnauzer, was acting abnormally. Ohrt said he thought Furgus was having a stroke.

After running around the backyard like he does every day, Ohrt said "Furgus was just acting really strange, as if he was losing his balance. He couldn't stand up very well, and he was acting weird, like he didn't recognize us."

That was on Friday. He was finally able to take his dog to Brookswood Animal Clinic by Sunday when Loomis confirmed there was tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana's active ingredient, in his system.

Loomis said affected dogs like Furgus can look drowsy and uncoordinated for up to twelve hours after consuming marijuana. But she said treatment is almost unnecessary.

"A lot of times, we just send them home, and let them know that they're going to be a little bit off," Dr. Loomis said. "Have them avoid where they might fall downstairs, don't let them run loose in the woods. Just keep them quiet and contained."

Loomis said marijuana is not going to cause any organ damage in dogs. That's why she doesn't like using the term marijuana toxicity, because it's not a toxin.

"I would call it an inappropriate ingestion," she said.

Fortunately, Furgus is feeling like himself again after his own inappropriate ingestion. But Ohrt and Loomis want all dog owners to use caution, so this recent trend can end.

Central Oregon / Pets / Top Stories
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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

Comments

13 Comments

  1. Our neighbor’s dog ate a butt or two thrown over the fence from the other side (a vacations rental). Spent a couple of days in emergency care and almost died, according to their vet.

    1. I’d call that a lie. Marijuana used in a joint is most typically not decarboxylated unless they has some sort of oil on their that is. This is why people have to use a flame to burn it to have the THCA converted to THC which creates the high. Unless it is converted, they won’t feel any effects.

    1. It absolutely is by the definition of the word, and of what “poisonous” means. Along with Alcohol, Caffiene, Tylenol and many other far more toxic substances, of which Marijuana is the least toxic.

  2. Dry flower by itself does not cause a high, so whatever the dogs ate has to either have oil in it or was an edible. Dry flower has to be burned to decarboxylated it to turn THCA into THC which causes the high. THCA alone can not get you high. You can eat an entire plant of fresh or dried flower with zero psychotropic effects. This is cannabis 101. It is not toxic

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