Are Pets and Livestock at Risk from Poisonous Plants and Marijuana Exposure?

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Are Pets and Livestock at Risk from Poisonous Plants and Marijuana Exposure?

The issue of animals being exposed to marijuana and other poisonous plants raises significant concerns. While stereotypes of people high on marijuana often depict them as relaxed or unmotivated, the situation is far more serious when it comes to animals. The consumption of certain plants and exposure to marijuana can have dangerous, sometimes fatal, consequences for pets and livestock.

Firstly, there’s the question of marijuana toxicosis in pets. An increase in such cases has been observed in veterinary emergency rooms, particularly following the legalization of marijuana. This condition primarily occurs through ingestion, but inhalation can also be a risk. The symptoms can be more severe when pets ingest marijuana-infused edibles, which often contain higher THC levels than the plant itself. Dogs are more commonly affected than cats, and the consequences can be severe​​​​.

Another concern is the toxicity of certain plants to animals. Common milkweed, for instance, poses a threat to livestock. While all milkweeds contain toxins, the severity of the risk can vary. In particular, the Showy Milkweed and Narrow-leaf Milkweed, native to Central Oregon, are known for their toxicity. It’s crucial to keep pastures and hay free from such plants to prevent accidental ingestion by livestock​​​​.

Poisonous plants contain compounds that can harm or even kill animals in small doses. Recognizing these plants and managing animals and pastures properly is essential to minimize the risk of poisoning. Examples include Mayapple, bloodroot, pokeweed, nightshade, and hellebore, which contain harmful alkaloids. These are typically not consumed unless animals are deprived of better feed, but when ingested, they can cause severe digestive disturbances, pain, nervous symptoms, and often result in death through convulsions​​​​.

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In summary, both marijuana and various poisonous plants pose significant risks to pets and livestock. It’s crucial for pet owners and livestock managers to be aware of these dangers and take appropriate measures to prevent accidental exposure.

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