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Veterinarians report an increase in dog-related marijuana accidents

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You don't have to hide your stash anymore, but keep it away from your four-legged friends. Local veterinarians say since legalization in Washington state, they've seen an increase in pet-related marijuana accidents.

"Veterinarians are kinda used to doing this by now," says veterinarian Steve Boharski. "We have always treated dogs for marijuana-related accidents, because, let's face it, dogs eat everything, whether they should or not. But it has and will absolutely become a bigger part of my practice."

Boharski acquired the Garland Animal Clinic in 1999. He says he commonly treats dogs for consumption of edibles — food, marijuana leaves and candy. Consumption may result in anxiety, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. The side effects may be worse or not as bad, depending upon the size of the animal.

"People just need to be very careful with food substances," he says. "Pets are very small compared to us. Dogs can become really lethargic, much like being very stoned. It can really have the same effect as with humans."

If a dog or any other animal has consumed marijuana, it should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Once there, veterinarians use the same urine test used on humans in order to rule out other medications and congestions.

A veterinarian will then attempt to empty the dog's gastrointestinal tract using stomach tubes. If the dog isn't lucid enough, an activated charcoal — a medical compound designed to absorb toxins — may be used and intravenous fluids may also be administered to flush its system. In worst-case scenarios, dogs may be administered Valium or other sedatives until the effects wear off — anywhere between 12 and 24 hours.

"They just have to ride it out," Boharski says. "That's the best way to put it."

Although the situation is worrisome, the pet should be fine. ♦

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