Epidemiology of Opioid and Cannabinoid Poisoning Events in US Companion Dogs, 2005-2014

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University of Guelph

In the last two decades, recreational drug use patterns have changed substantially, particularly with opioids and cannabinoids. Opioid-related deaths continued to rise, with interventions often making the problem worse. Attitudes towards cannabinoids were quickly changing, causing a trend of increased cannabis use and legalization. The impact of these drugs on human populations were and remain an important public health concern. Although these drugs may also be harmful to vulnerable populations, such as pet dogs, their impact on dog populations had received little attention. As the basic epidemiology of opioids and cannabinoids poisonings of dogs has not been established, we used data concerning reports of dog poisoning events from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poisoning Control Center (APCC), from 2005–2014, to begin building this foundational knowledge in US dogs. We combined the APCC data with several other data sources and used multilevel multivariable logistic regression models to identify legislative, drug use patterns, socioeconomic, and dog-level variables associated with opioid and cannabinoid poisonings in dogs. We identified clusters of calls concerning cannabinoid and opioid poisonings in dogs in space, time, and space-time using scan statistics. We fit ordinary and mixed logistic regression models to identify pet iii demographic and health disorders associated with opioid and cannabinoid dog poisonings, and compared their predictive performance to analogous lasso logistic regression models. This study revealed the need for increased awareness among the pet owning public, and public health and veterinary communities about the impact of dog-level and regional factors on the risk of dogs being poisoned with these toxicants, and the value of improved surveillance of these events.

Epidemiology, Dog, Opioid, Cannabis, Poisoning
Howard-Azzeh M, Pearl DL, O'Sullivan TL, Berke O. The identification of risk factors contributing to accidental opioid poisonings in companion dogs using data from a North American poison control center (2006-2014). PLoS one. 2020 Jan 29;15(1):e0227701. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227701
Howard-Azzeh M, Pearl DL, Swirski A, Ward M, Hovdey R, O'Sullivan TL, Berke O. The impact of state cannabis legislation, county-level socioeconomic and dog-level characteristics on reported cannabis poisonings of companion dogs in the USA (2009�??2014). PloS one. 2021 Apr 16;16(4):e0250323. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250323
Howard-Azzeh M, Pearl DL, Berke O, O'Sullivan TL. Spatial, temporal, and space-time clusters associated with opioid and cannabis poisoning events in US dogs (2005�??2014). PLoS one. 2022 Apr 28;17(4):e0266883. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0266883
Howard-Azzeh M, Pearl DL, O'Sullivan TL, Berke O. Comparing the diagnostic performance of ordinary, mixed, and lasso logistic regression models at identifying opioid and cannabinoid poisoning in US dogs using pet demographic and clinical data reported to an animal poison control center (2005�??2014). PLoS one. 2023 Jul 10;18(7):e0288339. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0288339