ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — Veterinarians in metro Denver are seeing a high volume of marijuana toxicity cases and pets ingesting foreign objects.

“We had a week where we did a surgery every day and we were like, ‘What is going on?’” said Ashley Ackley, a DVM with Animal Urgent Care in Arvada.

Ackley says in a typical month, they perform between four and eight foreign body surgical procedures, meaning pets that have ingested something that gets stuck in their intestines. In March, that number jumped to 16 cases.

Ackley says THC toxicities are also on the rise. In a normal month, Ackley says they see about eight cases. That number tripled in March with about 24 cases.

“There’s a potential increase in recreational marijuana use with humans with the current social restrictions going on at this point. Potentially, animals are more likely to ingest it if it’s around more,” said Ackley.

She says it’s not entirely clear what’s causing the increase in foreign body surgical cases but believes the stress of the current climate is a contributor.

“Animals feel our stress. I think a lot of us are stressed at home and potentially that’s playing into it,” said Ackley.

Ackley says they’re primarily seeing this behavior in dogs but occasionally see cats impacted as well. She recommends keeping pets in a familiar routine to help keep them calm.

“If they’re used to going on two walks per day, maybe don’t go on 20. Just keep them to those two,” said Ackley.

She also recommends allowing pets to have downtime by themselves as they would if their owners were not home throughout the day. Ackley says if a pet ingests either TCH or a foreign object, the best thing to do is to have them seen right away. She says in some cases, getting a pet to the vet early can help avoid a costly surgery.


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