Hank Investigates: Pets and Pot

Some are stoked about Massachusetts’ new marijuana law — but Hank’s investigation reveals even if you don’t use it, pot could put your pet at risk. How can this happen? It’s a story every pet owner should see. Hank investigates.

Bryce the Brittany Spaniel loves nosing around outside.

But after an outing at a Stoughton park in April his owners Jim and Julie-Leah Harding noticed something was wrong.

Julie-Leah J. Harding: “He was just wobbly, not stable, kind of drifting.”

Jim Harding: “His whole body was just swaying.”

The Hardings raced Bryce to the vet and got a surprising diagnosis.

Jim Harding: “They took one look at him, and said, ‘Ok, he’s stoned.’”

Stoned? Yup.

Julie-Leah Harding: “She said who has the marijuana in the house?”

That question is being asked by more and more vets.

The number of marijuana related calls to Animal Poison Control in Massachusetts nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017

At the Tufts animal ER they’re seeing more pot patients than ever

Armelle M. de Laforcade, Veterinarian, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University: “This something we certainly see more commonly now.”

With marijuana legal in Massachusetts, animal owners beware: pets and pot don’t mix!

And even if your home is pot-free, like the Hardings, your pet might be more likely to find pot in public places.

Some pet owners have posted videos showing how seriously impaired their pets became after ingesting marijuana – dogs seeming lethargic or dazed.

Hank: “People might think ‘I don’t want to tell the vet that there’s marijuana in my house, what would you say to that?”

Laforcade: “I would say, we don’t really judge in the emergency room here.”

And she says don’t delay that doctor visit.

Laforcade: “Some animals have certainly died as a result of marijuana toxicity, so despite the fact that many get better uneventfully, I think its always best to let a veterinarian decide.”

In Bryce’s case, the pup just slept it off and he’s fine.

Now the Hardings are extra careful when he’s playing in the park.

Julie-Leah Harding: “We dodged a bullet.”

Vets warn if you think your pet may have ingested pot, just tell them, or else they might suspect the animal has a neurological disorder and that could end up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary tests.

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