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Seattle area vets see rise in canine marijuana ingestion

Seattle area vets see rise in canine marijuana ingestion
Sample buds of marijuana flowers are displayed in glass containers at the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on January 1, 2014. Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana use in 2012 with the first retail stores for recreational use this year. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

SEATTLE, March 14 (UPI) -- Seattle area veterinarians said the legalization of recreational marijuana has led to a rise in THC toxicity cases for dogs.

Veterinarians said tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, can prove toxic to dogs and the legalization of marijuana, which took effect in Washington state at the start of January, has led to a rise in reported cases of canine ingestion, USA Today reported Friday.

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"A busy week, I've seen 10 to 12 cases," said Dr. Nathanial Stewart of VCA Pacific Avenue Animal Hospital in Tacoma. "I saw a beagle once that ate an entire Ziploc baggie full of marijuana buds."

"It can trigger seizures, coma, or even death," Stewart said of canines ingesting the plant.

Vets said THC toxicity can be treated in dogs if the symptoms are identified early.

"[You could] also smell from her breath that it smelled like marijuana," said Dr. Ruby Donnaway of the Affordable Animal Emergency Clinic in Seattle. "There are weeks where we're pretty much seeing it every single night."

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