CBD for your Pet: Check with your Local Vet for Medical Advice

Dr. Ryan Ehlinger of Main Street Animal Hospital

Welcome faithful readers to our next installment of Veterinary Tails. After a summer of foxtails, rattlesnake bites, gunshot wounds, hit by cars, and a flurry of catfights we are back to share some stories from the team down at Main Street.
One of the most common questions I am asked these days by clients is the effects of CBD oil or cannabidiol on a variety of pet illnesses. Will CBD oil fix allergies? Seizures? Arthritis? (insert your pet’s health problem here)? Many people are just giving it to their pets because Dr Google said it works for IBD…or my friend’s brothers’ dog is surviving cancer because of CBD oil…and so on.
As a veterinarian, I choose to practice evidence-based medicine. This means that I recommend treatments that are clinically studied and proven to improve outcomes for various diseases. I believe this is important as clients and their pets are counting on me to give them the best most current advice. This advice has to be based on science or I am not giving them the best possible care. If a product is proven to help your dog or cat, you will find it at my clinic and it will be recommended when appropriate. If a product is unproven or unstudied, it is unlikely that I will recommend it in most circumstances.
Colorado State University (the alma mater of our newest DVM at the clinic Alex Gomes) is leading the way with CBD oil research in dogs. They are doing 2 phases of studies. Phase 1 was completed in 2016 and looked at the basics of CBD oil; absorption, safety, and toxicity. Tinctures were found to be the best vehicle for absorption. Side effects in dogs were found to be diarrhea and elevated liver values when high doses were administered. The study was generally supportive of CBD oil from a safety and toxicity standpoint. Phase 2 of the research is looking into the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating 2 specific dog ailments; arthritis and epileptic seizures. The results of these studies should be available later this year or in early 2019. I am excited to see the results of these studies and apply them to our clinical practice at Main Street.
Many of our clients are not waiting on the clinical research. They are jumping right in and beginning treatment. One such client called me up about a year ago and told me she had started CBD oil for her dog who is battling cancer. The dog had a very aggressive cancer of the anal gland which was treated at our hospital via surgery and chemotherapy. He was doing quite well and was already outliving many other dogs with this same type of cancer because of the early detection and treatment. He also happens to suffer from epileptic seizures. The owner was asking about how much CBD oil to give her dog. She was concerned because the dog was really groggy on the product and she was worried she might be overdosing him. I asked her how much she was giving him and how often. I told her that the amount she was giving was not a typical oral dose. She said “oral dose…I’ve been giving it per rectum as that is where his cancer is at!” Who knew the frontier of dog cancer research was right here in the North County! I have to say that dog is doing really well on both the cancer and epilepsy fronts. Is it the CBD oil? The research should be available soon…