NEWS RELEASE: National Veterinary Association Acquires Cannabis Pet Poisoning Statistics for Canada
August 26, 2019
Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recently received Canadian cannabis pet poisoning statistics from the Pet Poison Helpline in the U.S.
From January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019, 179 incidents of pet exposure to CBD (cannabidiol) and cannabis (containing THC) were reported from Canada. Cannabidiol is a component of cannabis, but it does not cause a “high” by itself. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
Over 90 per cent of the reports involved dogs and most of the animals were referred for veterinary assessment. No fatalities were reported.
Sixty-four instances were reported throughout 2018, whereas there were 54 reports during the first seven months of 2019 – suggesting 2019 will show a significant increase from the previous year.
The case data collected by the Pet Poison Helpline (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) comes from pet owners and veterinary professionals seeking expert consultation regarding a potentially poisoned pet. They may or may not be medically substantiated, especially if reported by a pet owner, and are not necessarily associated with a confirmed diagnosis of poisoning (i.e., some clinical signs may be unrelated to the reported toxicant). Canada does not have a national pet poison registry. Many Canadian veterinarians do not report intoxications nationally. Although these statistics from the Pet Poison Helpline are significant, in actuality, the number of accidental cannabis ingestions is, in fact, much higher.
The Pet Poison Helpline reported a 448 per cent increase in cannabis-related calls (from the U.S. and Canada) over the past six years.*
The CVMA continues to advocate for safety labelling of cannabis products to include pets and for veterinarians to be added to the list of medical professionals who are able to authorize access to cannabis for their patients. CVMA supports veterinary oversight to help ensure the safe and responsible use of these products.
Please see the recent letter the CVMA sent Health Canada regarding its Open Consultation on Cannabis Edibles/Extracts/Topicals here.
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The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national and international voice for Canada’s more than 12,500 veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Visit canadianveterinarians.net to learn more about the CVMA.
Lori Tarbett, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
613-236-1162 ext. 128