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Each year it seems like I see more pets testing positive for drugs such as marijuana (THC), opioids and cocaine. This can happen to pets that have good, dedicated owners, who have no drugs in the house! Most of these dogs found the drugs at places like parks, dog beaches, near campsites and on hiking trails. Can you imagine how scary it was for the owners when their dogs started showing these symptoms?  Thankfully, all of the dogs featured in the video were OK after spending time in the hospital.

Recreational drug intoxication will often result in neurologic signs, such as loss of balance, wobbliness and acting drunk. There is a long list of many different diseases and medical problems that can cause these types of neurologic signs. The most common reason we see young, otherwise healthy pets being brought into the emergency room for these symptoms is intoxications. Where we live, the most common intoxication is recreational drug intoxication. The most common recreational drug dogs test positive for is marijuana/THC, but we do see urine drug tests positive for other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opioids/fentanyl and MDMA).

However, there are many different toxins that can cause neurologic signs, including antifreeze/engine coolant (a deadly toxin that requires immediate intervention), certain essential oils (even a small amount of tea tree oil applied to the skin of a dog or cat can be lethal), rodent/insect poisons, and medications. There are also many other disease processes that can cause neurologic signs (including meningitis, strokes, brain tumors, and problems with other organ systems like the heart). It is always best to see your vet (or an emergency vet clinic) right away if you are noticing neurologic signs. Sometimes, referral to a neurology specialist may be needed.

Remember to keep all drugs, poisons, toxins and medications out of reach of pets and children.

Helpful Resources:

-ASPCA Animal Poison Control: Hotline: (888) 426-4435 https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal…

-Vet Talk: My dog is acting drunk (youtube): https://youtu.be/c65wQwt2x6c

-Antifreeze Poisoning- The Green Puddle Beneath Your Car https://twintreesvet.com/2016/11/10/an…

-OTC (Over-The-Counter) Medications: https://twintreesvet.com/2019/07/18/ot…

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