Medical marijuana boom posing health threat to garbage-eating pets

The legalization of medical marijuana spreading across the country has also led to a spike in marijuana ingestion accidents for the nation's pets, according to

Pet Poison Hotline, which services the U.S. and Canada, has observed a 200-percent jump in reported incidents of marijuana poisoning over the past five years, reported. 

Karl Jandrey, DVM, assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said he has personally observed an increase in poisonings. According to Jandrey, the animal hospital at UC Davis went from treating four pot poisoning patients in 2010 to 27 over the past year.

"There's been an increase as marijuana becomes more acceptable in public and less of an underworld thing," Jandrey said. 

Jandrey's observation is seemingly supported by a 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care linking the growing number of medical marijuana cardholders to the number of poisoned dogs, reported. According to the study, two Colorado hospitals saw a fourfold increase in poisoning incidents over six years.

San Francisco veterinarian Lori Green, DVM, who said her clinic treats up to three dogs a week for marijuana toxicity symptoms, warned pet owners to watch what they leave within reach of any nearby pets.

"Be aware that it might not be your animal but someone else's," Green said. "They will eat anything you leave out."