Vets warn pet owners over dogs eating THC

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Earlier this month, two dog owners reported that their pups got sick after walking at Mount Philo in Charlotte. The reports are still unconfirmed, but we're told one dog tested positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana.

According to the owner, her dog became "wobbly and sick," so she took her dog to the vet. Since that incident, a warning to dog owners has been posted at the Mount Philo trailhead.

"It’s strange, it's a little bewildering. It makes me wonder why dogs are getting sick," said Ann Culkin, who walks her dog at Mt. Philo several times a week and has never had a problem. "I have never met anyone on Mt. Philo that would try to destroy the nature out here. It's fresh, it’s clean and it's unthinkable somebody would leave something that would be poisonous to dogs."

Dan Inman is a vet with Burlington Emergency & Veterinary Specialists. He says he has seen symptoms so severe the dog is almost comatose or not able to walk. When that happens, a dog will require hospitalization.

Inman says it's not unusual for him to treat dogs that have eaten pot. While some can have mild symptoms, others can be more severe.

"THC dogs have things, characteristic things, that they do where they sit there and they'll slowly start to fall to the side and then they will catch themselves all of the sudden. It's very much a hallmark appearance to them," he said.

Dog owners should look out for these symptoms: an unbalance or unsteadiness on their feet and dribbling of urine.

"THC kind of runs the full gamut of how severe the clinical signs are. There are kind of hallmark clinical signs. We always kind of joke, you can spot a THC pet from across the room," Inman said.

He says you won't get in trouble by telling him your dog might have eaten pot.

"I always tell people that dogs get into anything and everything, so just because your dog got into THC doesn't mean it's yours," Inman said.

In addition to pot, dead animals, sandwich wrappers, chip bags and other debris your dog might get into, Inman says with warmer weather, compost piles are another dangerous thing for your dog.

"I see a lot of compost toxicities come in, especially the dogs. They smell something good you are all throwing out, something good they will get into that in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, that decay acts as what they call a tremorgen and can progress into something serious like seizures," Inman said.

He says because a dog's G.I. tract is one long pipe, any foreign material swallowed can become an obstruction and dangerous. If that happens and you see signs like vomiting, decreased appetite and lethargic behavior, he says to call your vet.