Study’s show CBD may be beneficial for pets. Photo credit: Envato.
Our fur friends are our best friends, and they deserve the best care around. They experience similar health issues as humans do, and it’s challenging to manage. My dog, Bessie, is a Jack Russell Terrier, and they often have joint pain and arthritis issues as they get older. She’ll be 14 this year, and the arthritis is hitting her hard.
We went to the vet, and at first, they put her on an anti-inflammatory. Being on an anti-inflammatory for so long gave her stomach issues; bloody urine and a low red blood cell count. The vet, Dr. Salvatore Pernice, decided that the best course of action was to put her on CBD oil and treats.
In an interview with Emerald, Dr. Pernice spoke of the importance of CBD for animals.
“It’s a safe alternative, and it doesn’t harm the animals. The only side effect is drowsiness,” Dr. Pernice said.
Many pet medicine specialists agree with Dr. Pernice, but others are hesitate. Moreso, some states limit and even prohibit vets from speaking about or prescribing cannabis products to pets.
However, organizations like American Association of Veterinary State Boards believe vets should be able to discuss such information.
Additionally, there’s The Veterinary Cannabis Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating “lasting solutions that ensure the safe use of cannabis in pets through education, advocacy, and promoting product standards.”
The society provides veterinarians and pet parents “a platform for the most up-to-date, unbiased, and accurate information” regarding cannabis usage in pets.
They also advocate for the “consistent and appropriate legislation [that] is needed to alleviate the confusing and conflicting information.” As such, members are working with lawmakers and state officials to build consistency.
The Veterinary Cannabis Society is trying to eliminate the stigmas of cannabis for pets and is working on introducing cannabis as an alternative method for animals.
Arthritis and CBD
In a veterinary study published in The Journal of International Association for the Study of Pain, researchers found that “CBD significantly decreased pain and increased mobility in a dose-dependent fashion among animals with an affirmative diagnosis of [Osteoarthritis].”
The study was conducted over a period of four weeks, and included dogs diagnosed with Osteoarthritis (OA). Because it was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, neither participants nor researchers knew which canines received the placebo or doses of 20 mg or 50 mg of CBD.
The results showed that the 20 mg and 50 mg doses of CBD “significantly decreased pain, and increased mobility,” the authors wrote, in turn improving the dogs’ quality of life.
Therefore, the authors concluded, “this study supports the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain […].”
Hesitancy to use CBD
“When I diagnosed Bessie with arthritis, we initially thought that the anti-inflammatory (Rimadyl) was the right way to go. It worked for her in the beginning, but it hurt her immune system,” Dr. Pernice said.
“I didn’t want to prescribe Bessie with CBD right away because some pet owners are hesitant to use it with their pets,” he explained.
For instance, The Veterinary Cannabis Society has stated that some vets are hesitant to prescribe CBD as it’s not spoken on nationally.
Dr. Trina Hazzah, the president of the Veterinary Cannabis Society, is aiming to break the stigma of giving CBD and cannabis-infused products to pets. While the society can’t endorse products, they can provide educational resources and links to research to guide consumers to buy the right product for them.
What can it be Used for?
As with Bessie, CBD-infused products can help treat arthritis pain. “The two most common reasons why pets are introduced to cannabis is to help alleviate anxiety or pain,” explained Dr. Hazzah in an interview with Ganjapreneur.
Anxiety in animals is similar to that of humans. Both animals and humans have Endocannabinoid systems (ECS), which help maintain homeostasis within the body, whether fighting a disease or reducing stress and anxiety levels. It may be hard to tell when our furry friend has anxiety, but fear not, CBD can reduce those levels.
Recognizing an animals’ anxiety symptoms is the first step, according to the ASPCA. “In cats, signs like hiding, not eating, social withdrawal, panting, hypervigilance, dilated pupils, aggression and twitching tails or ears can indicate stress and anxiety.”
For dogs, similarly, it’s disruption and potential destruction, ASPCA explained.
CBD for my Pets
I’ve given my terrier Bessie CBD oil and treats for a month. So far, I notice that she is slowly but surely gaining some weight back.
Though a bit slumpy, she’s also walking. Slowly, but walking — which is progress. Before treatment, she laid in random spots within my house and shake. This was when she was on Rimadyl. After two months of Rimadyl, she had blood in her urine and a low red blood cell count. That’s when the switch was made.
Bessie gets CBD treats in the morning and CBD oil at night. The oil is more potent and it allows her to sleep throughout the night. She gets 1 milliliter of oil, and it’s easy to give it to her. My dog can be picky so she typically spits out the treat. However, she’ll eventually eat them.
One of my cats, Rusty, has an epileptic disorder and is on a controlled substance for seizures. Unfortunately, he will have to be on this medicine for the rest of his life. However, he is very hyperactive and happy. Rusty likes to run, play with toys, and annoy the other cats and dogs.
Rusty also gets CBD to help with his anxiety because he has become skittish after he began taking his seizure medications. With the medication, he has gained a ton of weight and using CBD has helped him maintain movement.
Rusty only takes CBD treats because it is more considerably difficult for me to give him a liquid since he’s very active. He gets a treat twice a day as recommended by the packaging. He seems to like it so far.
Rusty runs around like crazy at midnight. So, like Bessie, it is safe to say that he’s enjoying his treatment so far, too.
Overall, the experience of using CBD oil and treats for my Bessie and Rusty has been positive. They have responded well to the treatment and they are able to maintain a healthy quality of life that they deserve. Ultimately, we’ve learned, CBD for animals is a holistic alternative to help pets with anxiety and chronic pain.