A Natural Cure for Pain, Anxiety, Seizures, and More?
Jennifer McNamee still remembers that chilling phone call from her youngest daughter on September 5 of last year.
Home alone, 12-year-old Gracyn found the family’s three-year-old Labrador Retriever mix, Boomer, “on the ground and foaming at the mouth.”
“She was frantic,” says the Toledo, OH resident and mother of five. “She was home alone and didn't know what to do, but I remember her saying, ‘I think he is having a seizure.’ I felt so bad for her.” Jennifer called her husband and son, who rushed home until Jennifer could get there.
Jennifer was worried about Boomer, who she describes as her “best friend.”
“He is always by my side except for bedtime—because he hogs it—and when I go to work. My husband says that when I am gone, he just stares out the window waiting for me to get back. I love him to pieces— everyone in the house does.”
“My first thought was that he had consumed something toxic, as he has a fondness for garbage,” Jennifer says.
When she called the vet’s office, they told her to document it. “If it was something toxic, he would continue to be ill. He was acting completely fine by the time I made it home.”
Exactly one week later, it happened again.
“I was not home when it happened, but my husband was,” says Jennifer. “He said Boomer started dry heaving, then vomited, then went into a seizure. He snapped out of it within a couple of minutes. I called the vet back, and they had me bring him in the next day.”
Boomer was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy and the vet prescribed phenobarbital, a medication used to control seizures. After some research about the side effects of the drug, Jennifer was concerned about the damage the drug can do to the liver.
“I did a search on natural ways to control epilepsy and came across an article on CBD. I then did another search for canine epilepsy and CBD oil and found that others were using CBD to control seizures in their dogs with great success.”
Believing that “natural is better—if possible—for everything,” Jennifer was open to the idea of using CBD for Boomer.
“I have to hide it in cheese,” says Jennifer. “He does anything for cheese. I know that is not the ideal way to administer CBD, but it works best for him.”
Jennifer is just one of scores of pet owners across North America who are trying cannabidiol—more commonly known as CBD—to treat their dogs’ ailments.
CBD for pets has become increasingly popular. But what is it?
"First and foremost, it is imperative to get our language straight when discussing cannabinoids,” says American Kennel Club chief veterinary officer Dr. Jerry Klein.
The cannabis plant can produce cannabinoids from the hemp plant or the marijuana plant, says Dr. Klein. Hemp contains low amounts—less than 0.3 percent—of tetrahydrocannibidiol (THC), which is the psychoactive component, and higher amounts of CBD. Marijuana has greater than 0.3 percent THC and lower amounts of CBD. THC and marijuana are toxic to pets and should never be given to pets, says Dr. Klein, who oversees a team of over 100 staff members at Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center as the emergency department’s supervising veterinarian. CBD is derived from hemp and is non-psychoactive.
Dr. Klein sees the growing interest in CBD for pets firsthand. According to Dr. Klein, clients seem to have the most interest in discussing the use of CBD for pet issues involving pain (central pain, osteoarthritic pain, peripheral neuropathies and spinal pain) and anxiety.
But those aren’t the only uses for CBD. Other pet owners have used CBD oil on their pets for issues including arthritis, chronic pain, cancer, seizures and various behavioural issues, Dr. Katherine Kramer, the director of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, previously told Modern Dog.
Even so, Dr. Klein—a member of professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association; Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society—reminds that “the only scientific studies that have been published on the use of CBD in dogs has been regarding osteoarthritic pain and drug-resistant epilepsy (preliminary).Click here to read more about the CBD Natural Cure: Modern Dog Magazine