By Chea Waters Evans
Mt. Philo in Charlotte is usually a happy hike for local walkers and their pets.
On any given morning, dozens of dogs and their owners hike up the mountain road or wooded trails.
But last week, at least four dogs became violently ill after ingesting something near the road as they made their way up the hill.
Zuheros, Sophie, Trooper, and Maizy – dogs of differing breeds but all from Charlotte – became ill in the same manner and within the same timeframe of their Mt. Philo hikes: Zuheros on Thursday, April 5, and the other three dogs on Monday, April 2.
Within an hour of returning home from their hike, Liz Robert, Zuheros’s owner, noticed that her dog was listless, vomiting and incontinent. She quickly took her pet to the veterinarian, who ordered a toxicology test. The result was a shock: marijuana toxicity.
The three other dogs experienced the same symptoms within a short period of time of their walks, as well.
The manner in which the dogs may have ingested marijuana however, remains a mystery. Robert offered a theory that ARK Veterinary Hospital veterinarian Dr. Gary Solow said is plausible, although there is no way to know for certain what caused the illness.
Solow said the dog’s vomit had the smell of feces.
Robert’s theory is that the dogs came upon and consumed human feces along the trail which had been deposited there by hikers who had eaten marijuana edibles of some sort.
Mt. Philo State Park is among the busiest in Vermont, even in its off-season. The park does not have open bathrooms when it is closed for the seasons, though it is still frequented by hikers daily.
“I don’t think we can absolutely say to you ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” Solow said, “but certainly there are enough conversations on veterinary blogs to suggest that dogs have consumed some sort of feces and then have symptoms that were consistent with marijuana toxicity.”
He cautioned against using the phrase “marijuana poisoning,” however. “You have a dog that’s stoned, not poisoned,” he said.
The Shelburne News will update this story for the print edition this week.