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Tips for dealing with marijuana toxicoses

Tips for dealing with marijuana toxicoses

According to the CDC, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. That, combined with the increased  number of states that have legalized marijuana, means you are more than likely going to see an accidental marijuana intoxication in your career, especially when working at emergency clinics.

A study published in Top Companion Animal Medicine provides some helpful tips about dealing with marijuana poisoning in dogs:

  • In dogs, the most common source of exposure is through ingestion of the owner's stash.

  • The minimum lethal oral dose for dogs for THC is more than 3 g/kg. However, canine deaths have been seen after ingestion of more concentrated medical-grade THC butter.

  • Typical clinical signs include depression, hypersalivation, mydriasis, hypermetria, vomiting, urinary incontinence, tremors, hypothermia, and bradycardia. However, higher dosages may additionally cause nystagmus, agitation, tachypnea, tachycardia, ataxia, hyperexcitability, and seizures.

  • Treatment: No specific antidote presently exists for THC poisoning. Sedation with benzodiazepines may be necessary if dogs are severely agitated. Treatment of marijuana ingestion in animals is largely supportive. The use of intralipid therapy to bind the highly lipophilic THC has also been utilized.

  • Diagnostics: Stomach content and urine can be tested for cannabinoids. Human urine drug-screening tests can be unreliable for confirmation.

  • Prognosis: Most cases will recover completely without sequellae.

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