A five-month-old French Bulldog named Leon is on the mend these days after his owner says he found and ate some marijuana left on the floor of the pet enclosure on a BC Ferries vessel.
Alyx Speth and her spouse had Leon in their vehicle when they boarded the 2pm Coastal Renaissance sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Due to a BC Ferries policy introduced in 2017, if you’re on the lower deck, you can no longer stay in your vehicle for the sailing so Leon was taken to the designated pet area.
Speth says he found marijuana on the floor under a bench and ate it.
“I quickly saw that he had something in his mouth and pulled it out,” she said.
“I noticed that it was pot. I got down on my hands and knees to look under the bench and I saw more pot on the ground.”
Speth says her puppy, weighing only 13lbs, got very lethargic and, towards the end of the sailing began having tremors and seizures.
As soon as she was allowed to return to their vehicle, she took Leon and tried to keep him comfortable.
“We rushed him to the emergency vet hospital where they induced vomiting, gave him charcoal and did lab work,” she said.
“He was required to stay overnight in an incubator.”
Her spouse reported the incident to BC Ferries staff and was told the pet area had been cleaned that morning.
Speth also called BC Ferries customer service and was told that they have routines in place for cleaning and that, under the circumstances, the routines are reasonable.
With legalized marijuana on the horizon, a Nova Scotia vet says he’s seeing an increase in dogs overdosing on pot.
“Dogs are getting into people’s stash, brownies or suckers, and basically they’ve been pretty messed up by it,” said Dr. Jeff Goodall, who runs Sunnyview Animal Care Centre in Bedford, N.S.
Goodall said he can’t remember treating a pet for marijuana toxicity a few years ago.
But in the last two years, he’s had about eight dogs come into his clinic showing the telltale signs — urinating uncontrollably, wobbling, and vocalizing.
“We’re definitely seeing many more suspicious cases,” he said.
Marijuana can cause dogs to become extremely ill and, in rare cases, can kill them, Goodall said.
“Dogs are extremely sensitive to much lower doses than people are,” he said.
These types of cases may become more common once pot becomes legal in Canada.
A recent study in Colorado of 125 dogs found cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs quadrupled after pot was legalized there.
“People are not treating it as carefully as they should,” said Goodall.
“With the pending legalization of marijuana in our country, people need to be aware they need to treat it like any other prescription medication.”
With files from CBC