As more Americans view pot in a favorable light, one Los Angeles veterinarian is proposing medical marijuana for man's best friend.
Dr. Doug Kramer recently told Vice.com
that just as pet owners presently administer antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication to dogs, medical marijuana can also be a suitable alternative treatment for certain canine conditions.
In the article, Kramer recounts how he administered medical marijuana to his own dog which was diagnosed with untreatable cancer and fast approaching death.
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"She had gone through all of the traditional pain medications, even steroids," said Kramer. "When it became clear that she was nearing the end, that’s when she had nothing to lose, as long as it didn’t hurt her."
Though the cannabis didn't have any healing abilities, it did appear to improve the animal's quality of life in her final days, Kramer says.
"At the first dosage, she was up and around," said Kramer. "I didn’t cure her. It was just a question of increasing her quality of life and putting off inevitably euthanizing her."
Kramer was quick to draw a distinction between administering medical marijuana humanely, as in making it into a butter or oil that can be blended into the animal's food, as opposed to simply blowing smoke into an animal's face, which he characterized as "animal abuse."
"To me, its animal abuse, really," says Kramer. "It kills me because it devalues what I’m trying to do. Especially in the early stages, starting the dialogue with veterinary medicine, the last thing you want is for people to do that."
Kramer's proposal that medical marijuana be made available to dogs under certain circumstances is not supported by many of his colleagues.
Reacting to the recent decision by voters in Colorado and Washington to decriminalize marijuana possession and thus allow for recreational use of the drug, veterinarians in the Centennial State claim marijuana can be quite harmful and even toxic for dogs.
According to Jennifer Bolser of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, dogs cannot technically get "high" like humans, reported Globalanimal.org.
"Marijuana exposure in pets causes neurologic toxicity, which is not the same as the 'high' that people experience," said Bolser. "The symptoms (staggering, agitation, stupor, etc.) that develop in pets do not appear enjoyable for them."
Additional physical symptoms displayed by dogs that ingest medical marijuana are red eyes, poor motor function, an irregular heart-beat, and poor temperature regulation, reported Global Animal.
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According to Colorado veterinarian Dr. Stacy Meola, who has treated numerous cases in which dogs have ingested medical marijuana intended for the owner, other side effects include: staggering, lethargic, vomiting dogs that are often sensitive to sound and light and could potentially fall into a coma.
A five-year study conducted by Meola shows the number of ill dogs admitted to local veterinary facilities from marijuana ingestion has quadrupled in Colorado since medical marijuana was legalized, reported Global Animal.
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