It seems it isn’t just people in B.C. getting high.
Pet insurance firm Trupanion says British Columbia has racked up the most marijuana pet insurance claims of anywhere else in North America.
The insurance provider says it’s paid out $54,000 in weed-related pet claims in the past two calendar years. Treating an animal that has ingested THC – the ingredient in marijuana that can be toxic – can cost upwards of $1,600, it says, however the average payout is much lower – about $290.
Vets say it’s important to keep marijuana smoke, leaves and baked goods away from pets because it can lead to sickness and, in rare cases, comas.
Signs of marijuana toxicity include lethargy, vomiting, disorientation, depression and sometimes seizures. Some dogs will have impaired balance, which makes them look like they’re drunk (think wobbly limbs, being unsteady on their feet).
The insurance agency attributes a spike in claims in 2013 around the 4-20 holiday.
It also speculates that U.S. states where marijuana is legalized will experience more claims in the future.
California and Washington topped U.S. states in terms of claims, while Alberta ranked fourth, ahead of New York, Ontario and Colorado. Florida, Virginia and Massachusetts rounded out the top 10.
And one important note here: marijuana in its pure form has actually been proven to have healing benefits in dogs and cats. Trupanion actually has health insurance coverage for pets that includes provisions for marijuana therapies to treat pain associated with chronic health problems, arthritis and cancer.
A U.S. company called Canna-Pet produces digestible marijuana supplements for dogs that promises “all the health benefits without the high.” The company says the compounds in cannabis relieves pain, reduces nausea, aids sleep, reduces inflammation and aids sleep in pets with health woes.
Pet owners who think their dog or cat may have ingested marijuana should contact their vet.