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Bucks County SPCA investigation finds no evidence dog exposed to THC at PetSmart groomer

Kelly Fowler alleges her dog Teddy tested positive for THC intoxication after a grooming visit to a Petsmart in Bucks County. (Jo Ciavaglia/Bucks County Courier Times)
Kelly Fowler alleges her dog Teddy tested positive for THC intoxication after a grooming visit to a Petsmart in Bucks County. (Jo Ciavaglia/Bucks County Courier Times)
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A Bucks County animal welfare investigation found no evidence a dog diagnosed with ingesting the active chemical in marijuana was exposed to it during a PetSmart grooming appointment.

The Bucks County SPCA closed its investigation after its humane officer reviewed video footage and found nothing suggesting Teddy, a year-old Shih Tzu-bichon mix, ingested anything while in the Falls Township store or grooming salon, agency spokeswoman Cindy Kelly said.

“We are thankful that the dog made a full recovery,” Kelly added on Thursday.

The investigation results mirror what a PetSmart corporate spokeswoman said its internal investigation found, there was “no evidence whatsoever” that Teddy was exposed to THC while in the store’s care.

The spokeswoman also said the company doesn’t use salon products that contain THC and that Teddy’s urine screen was THC negative.

The animal welfare agency opened the investigation earlier this week after Teddy’s owner, Kelly Fowler, of Bensalem, posted on social media that her dog was diagnosed with THC ingestion after a May 31 visit to the pet chain’s groomers.

“I’m upset I’m not going to lie,” Fowler said Thursday, adding she had been excoriated on social media. “I feel more upset that I don’t know what happened. We aren’t bad people. We just wanted to know what happened to our baby.”

While Teddy appears to have recovered, Fowler said that she has an appointment to get a second opinion with Teddy’s regular veterinarian. PetSmart reimbursed her for the $500 emergency vet bill, she added.

Fowler alleged that Teddy’s normally tail-wagging energetic behavior took a dramatic turn between the time she dropped him off at the groomers and when she picked him up several hours later when she described him as lethargic and falling over.

At the suggestion of a store employee, Fowler said she took Teddy to an emergency vet hospital to be checked out.

The doctor there diagnosed him with THC ingestion, though his urine test came back as negative for the chemical, according to a copy of the medical report that Fowler provided.

The medical report also noted that there is a high false negative rate with the test and in most cases the diagnosis of THC intoxication is made based on the symptoms the animal presents and the history of marijuana exposure.

The emergency vet told Fowler that for the reaction that Teddy, who weighs 8 pounds, was experiencing, an animal would have to ingest the THC within 90 minutes on symptom onset, she said.

Cannabis intoxication is seldom fatal for cats and dogs, but deaths have been noted after pets eat foods containing highly-concentrated cannabis, such as medical-grade THC, according to VCA Hospitals, a veterinary chain

Fowler said the emergency vet told her that once the THC is metabolized and excreted its effects wear off and Teddy should be OK.

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