A Mysterious Case Of Bowie Wowie

Dr. John Kaya
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Wednesday - May 06, 2009
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There are days that I actually believe I’ve seen it all, and then in walks the unexpected. It was a cold and dreary winter’s night. The stars made an occasional appearance through the heavy laden clouds like fireflies whose power supply was on the blink. A fine mist of bone-chilling rain drifted in from the Koolau Mountains, dousing any flicker of warmth that crossed the mind of the occasional passerby.

The list of appointments that evening included a puppy wellness exam, a feather-picking lovebird, a cat with possible ringworm infection, and a dog with explosive diarrhea (interesting visual, I know).

What came next, I truly did not expect. This may sound cliché, but though the story is true, the names and descriptions may have been changed to protect the furry and the innocent.


A cute, cuddly puppy named Kiko arrived at our hospital. The reason for the visit was lethargy, stumbling, drooling and disorientation. As I did my examination, I realized that this innocent little critter appeared seriously ill. Like popcorn over a hot stove, our expert staff jumped into action and minutes later we had X-rays and a complete blood workup.

The results were astounding. Kiko was absolutely normal.

How could this be? I repeated my exam to see if something was missed, like evidence of head trauma, but to my dismay, nothing further was revealed.

My attention then turned to the owners who brought in our ailing patient. Upon further questioning, they told me Kiko may have eaten some “roaches” in their yard. I racked my brain to think of everything I knew about cockroach toxicity. Funny, cockroaches inducing the neurological problems witnessed in our patient did not seem possible.

Prompted by my puzzled look and repeated muttering of the word “cockroaches,” the owners then clarified what they meant by “roaches.” They told me that “roaches” was slang for marijuana cigarette butts.

Oh, my innocent ears. I guess their evening ritual involved a “smoke break” which culminated in the flicking of the pakalolo butts into the yard. Kiko, being a curious happy-go-lucky puppy, must have found these savory morsels and entered a state of nirvana. Fortunately she did not ingest a lethal dose, because Cannabis sativa can cause death in rare cases. A night at the hospital with medication, fluid therapy and food (she did have the munchies) cured her of her ailment. A serious discussion with the owners hopefully alleviated any further incident.

Can marijuana affect pets?

You bet. Do what you will to yourselves, but be responsible owners and do not expose your cuddly counterparts to mood-altering substances. There are times you may want to take a trip to the wild side, but please leave your pet at home.

Pet tips:

* Drugs and other substances affect pets just like people but due to their body size and metabolism, the effects could be life threatening. Make sure to keep these items locked away. Pet proof your house.

* If you think your pet ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian immediately. You may need to bring the container (pill bottle, wrapper, etc.) to the veterinarian so that the active ingredients can be identified.

* The ASPCA poison hotline phone number is 1-888-426-4355.

kayaj003@ hawaii.rr.com

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