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Sympathetic Lily, an adorable three-month-old French bulldog (a breed that we’re seeing more and more) was brought into emergency a few days ago. She didn’t seem well and her owners were worried. 

Lily had visited recently, and my colleagues had given her vaccines and deworming. Her chart was normal. Other than being a cutie, there was a note about a moderate stenosis of the nostrils (the narrowing of the nostrils can severely impact breathing), which is typical of this breed. The problem was noted and required monitoring as she matured, but was not a concern at the moment. This meant that we had to figure out another cause for her discomfort.


Lily was in a bad state and I was just as worried as her owners. For a few hours, she was weak and despondent, and didn’t seem too aware of what was going on around her. She couldn’t walk but staggered, falling off to her side to rest on the ground. She was even peeing here and there, and didn’t seem to realize, even though she was housetrained within five days of her arrival. My diagnosis was that Lily was presenting some kind of neurological problems, something affecting her nervous system. But what could have been causing acute symptoms in such a young patient?

I went through the possible diagnoses — and there were many of them — and I realized that the evidence suggested that I…had to ask my clients an embarrassing question. Was it possible that Lily had come into contact with cannabis? 


My clients were emphatic: there was no way that Lily had ingested cannabis. Thankfully, they weren’t insulted by my question, which was crucial for ruling out any possibilities for my diagnosis. It was discouraging, though, because this would have explained the symptoms and at least, been a much more favourable ruling than the other diseases on my list. 

I ordered blood work, which the clients immediately approved. The results didn’t show any abnormalities or anything serious enough to explain the clinical signs Lily was showing. Back to square one. I ask again, “Do you have teenagers at home? Is it possible a friend of their came over with cannabis? After all, it’s legal now.” Confused and worried about Lily’s mysterious condition, one of the clients called their teen. 


A friend had come over and it seems that they had weed on them. It is possible Lily could have eaten it. 

I reassured the parents that this happened more than they thought, and at least Lily didn’t have a serious health condition. She was just…a little stoned, which would, with a little care, subside quickly.

I supervised Lily for a few hours while my technicians inserted an IV to get her fluids. She also received some anti-nausea infusions as I checked her vitals and prepared her care instructions for the next day: temperaments, pupils, temperature, as well as heart and breathing rates.  

After a few hours, Lily’s symptoms subsided. She went home, trotting on all fours, which were much sturdier this time around!

Everyone was scared straight, and the teen got the message! Luckily, Lily wouldn’t suffer any long term effects from this misadventure. The moral of the story is that as much as cannabis has been legalized, they don’t mix well with our four-legged friends. Just like you wouldn’t leave medication lying around Félix or Milou, the same goes for cannabis. Even in small quantities, they do cause harm to our pets. Please be careful.

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