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Oct 2, 2012 8:45 PM by Matt Stafford

More pets showing up at clinics with signs of marijuana use

Local veterinarians are seeing a rise in a very disturbing trend; more and more dogs with symptoms of marijuana use, and some of them in serious conditions.

Veterinarian Lee Wilwerding is doing something they've had to do more of in recent years at Powers Pet Emergency; drug-testing dogs.

"We do use those tests to kind of help rule out other things, or possible catch marijuana," explains Dr. Wilwerding.

"Maybe 8 to 10 in a month (under the influence of marijuana)," says Dr. Wilwerding. "It's not unusual."

You don't have to look hard on YouTube to find videos of people trying to let their dogs feel the effects of marijuana.

"Look at him! That dog's high!" says one man in a video where he shows someone blowing smoke in a dog's face and then shows something rolled up that they people were smoking. Then they show off how the dog reacts to the drug; many of them are sporadic.

"It's really putting the dog into danger," says Dr. Wilwerding.

Samantha Emmons works the front desk at Powers Pet Emergency; she usually sees the dogs right as they walk in.

"They're just walking funny, they're falling, they're running into door jams," describes Emmons.

"I've seen plenty of dogs that have come in pretty much in a coma, and we've had to support them, and they have pulled through," says Dr. Wilwerding.

"Close calls?" asks News 5.

"Close calls," Dr. Wilwerding affirms.

"It doesn't take as much to affect the dog as it does a full grown person," explains Dr. Wilwerding. "A smaller dog, it's not going to take as much, and put the dog into a tough situation."

Dr. Wilwerding says most of those situations happen when the dogs eat an edible marijuana product, and he says most of the time it's something that's left lying around. He just reminds people that if marijuana is around, to keep it away from pets.

Dr. Wilwerding also points out that many pet owners are hesitant to say their dog may have gotten into marijuana at home. However, he says the clinic's first priority is caring for the dog; being honest can be a big help with diagnosis and treatment.

The Powers Pet Emergency clinic is a 24-hour facility; for more, click here.

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