Can CBD oil help treat cancer in dogs? Here’s what you need to know about treating your canine companion with CBD! CBD oil for Dogs with Cancer. This article reviews the research and explores the benefits of CBD for symptoms and progression as part of a vet-approved cancer treatment plan for dogs.
CBD Oil for Dogs With Cancer: Everything You Need to Know
The rise of cancer in dogs has seen an increase in pet parents looking for treatment methods that are more gentle, with fewer side effects and less of a hit to the hip pocket. As CBD use as a treatment for cancer and other illnesses booms in popularity for humans, it makes sense that canine use would not be far behind.
While medical trials are in their early days, anecdotal evidence from communities that have been using CBD to treat dogs for centuries is promising. Studies are beginning to validate that CBD oil may be effective at reducing cell proliferation but more clinical trials are still needed.
Other studies suggest that CBD can dramatically reduce pain and improve a dog’s quality of life when properly dosed . For dogs suffering from cancer, CBD oil may improve their quality of life.
Read on to discover more about CBD and the possibilities that exist for cancer treatment in dogs.
How Common is Cancer in Dogs?
Like humans, our canine companions are susceptible to cancer, with 1 in 3 dogs developing some form of cancer in their life. 1 in 4 dogs will develop neoplasia, the abnormal growth of cells or tissues within the body. The main cause of deathfor dogs over 2 years old is cancer, and half of the number of dogs over the age of 10 are likely to develop it. Clearly, cancer is common enough that dog owners should familiarize themselves with the main types of dog cancers and how they are treated.
Most Common Cancers in Dogs
The most common types of cancer in dogs include:
- Canine lymphoma: Lymphoma can affect the lymph nodes, as well as the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is found on the skin, particularly within a dog’s mouth.
- Mammary cancer: Mammary cancer affects the mammary glands.
Other common forms of cancer in dogs are mast cell tumors , bone cancer , and Hemangiosarcoma (a kind of cancer found in the heart or spleen).
The good news is that over half of all canine cancers are treatable if caught early.
Signs Your Dog Might Have Cancer
There are various signs that your dog might have cancer, but you need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian in order to get a diagnosis. Some of the signs and symptoms of dog cancer include:
- Difficulty eating
- Sudden changes in weight
Keep in mind that some of these symptoms are also common in dogs with anxiety problems , or simply characteristics of dogs who are getting older.
Warning Signs for Dogs With Cancer
Some warning signs of cancer in dogs are:
- Lumps or bumps underneath the skin
- New odors coming from their mouth or ears
- Discharge from their mouth, eyes, or ears
- Abdominal swelling
- Wounds or sores that won’t heal
- Sudden weight loss
- Dramatic changes in appetite
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Depression or lethargy
- Bathroom habit changes
- Evidence of pain
If your dog shows any of these cancer warning signs, contact your vet immediately.
Diagnosing and Treating Your Dog
After your dog visits with their general veterinarian and the vet suspects cancer, the veterinarian can refer you to a veterinary oncologist who specializes in cancer care for pets.
They will provide further details about three main areas:
- How advanced the cancer is
- What kind of cancer it is
- What other health factors will affect the cancer
Then, they will help you make a list of possible treatment options.
You will need to consider factors like:
- How treatment will affect quality of life (chemotherapy is often the most effective, but it can be painful)
- How long your dog has left to live
- And any other concerns
As you’ll see, CBD is a great auxiliary treatment for dogs undergoing painful treatment regiments, or a way to improve the quality of life for pets whose owners decide extensive and invasive treatment isn’t the right option for an aging dog.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the better-known cannabinoids or natural compounds that occur in the Cannabis Sativa plant. CBD oil typically comes from the hemp plant . Once harvested, the CBD is extracted and mixed with an oil to result in the consistency you see in products today.
CBD Oil Vs. Cannabis Oil
Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t result in thedistinctive ‘high’ that most people associate with marijuana. For thisreason, as well as its ability to provide natural relief from a wholehost of pain and anxiety disorders, CBD is growing in popularity aroundthe world.
Despite growing popularity, CBD still suffers fromsomething of an identity crisis, with some people still people failingto make the distinction between CBD and marijuana. While it’s true thatCBD and marijuana do come from the same plant, the chemical makeup ofthe Cannabis Sativa plant means that the plants harvested for CBD andmarijuana have different properties. To produce CBD oil, a higher CBD concentration of CBD and minimal levels of THC are required, leading producers to favor the hemp plant.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS CBD OIL FOR DOGS WITH CANCER?
Like for humans, CBD and hemp oils have long been used in traditional communities to treat pain in dogs resulting from a range of illnesses including cancer and muscular injuries.
By interacting with the dog’s endocannabinoid system, the CBD can help to effectively manage many different types of pain . For this reason, CBD is growing in popularity as a tool to improve the quality of life in dogs or as a dual treatment method with more traditional therapies.
Supports Anti-Tumor Medication
A study found that mice had a increased survival rate when taking CBD with anti-tumor medication. CBD oil is natural with few side effects that disrupt the anti-tumor treatment, making it a safe supplement for your dog.
Reduced Cell Proliferation
For dogs with cancer , some studies have suggested that CBD can even lead to a process called cancer apoptosis , which is essentially the death of the cancer cells. It’s worth noting that CBD as a complete treatment method for cancer has not been proven and the research is in its very early days.
Natural, Cost Effective Pain Relief
Regardless, more traditional cancer treatment methods for dogs can be prohibitively expensive , costing anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 and can involve many of the same negative side effects as in humans, such as vomiting, and loss of appetite.
While more research is needed in this area to fully explore the potential of CBD to cure disease, it remains highly regarded as a form of pain relief .
May Improve Sleep
A study found that CBD oil is actually a wake agent that will help your dog stay awake during the day, so that it gets more restful sleep at night. But CBD’s mechanism for sleep modulation is still unclear and needs more testing to validate.
May Help with Nausea and Appetite
Unfortunately for most dogs with cancer the treatment leaves them nauseated and lacking an appetite. Some studies are starting to show the potential CBD has for relieving nausea, which will increase your dog’s appetite.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS of CBD OIL FOR DOGS WITH CANCER?
CBD use for dogs , like humans, poses minimal risk. The biggest risks that do exist stem from:
Some studies have found that CBD can reduce saliva production for dogs, which makes them more thirsty. This is a mild side effect.
Lower Blood Pressure
For some dogs, CBD can decrease blood pressure and can cause light-headedness. Talk to your vet to know your dog’s susceptibility to low blood pressure.
Some dogs can experience drowsiness when give too high a dose of CBD. It’s important to start your dog on a low dose to determine how your dog will react.
Lack of Regulation Surrounding CBD Products
Due to the lack of regulation, there are some products on the market that have not undergone adequate testing and not only contain negligible quantities of CBD, also contain higher levels of THC than you may expect. Use of these products may lead to THC toxicity in your dog. Essentially, they may get “high”.
As vets legally cannot prescribe CBD as a treatment option for pain or illnesses in dogs, many owners are effectively going in blind when choosing to dose their animals.
The most important thing when looking for a CBD product for your pet is to do your research. Look thoroughly at reviews and begin by testing a small amount to make sure the product is what it claims to be.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Cancer: Possible Benefits and More
Let’s be absolutely clear: CBD oil alone is not a cure for cancer in dogs. We have seen some CBD manufacturers try to imply this, and quite frankly, we think it’s irresponsible.
It’s also unnecessary. The fact is that there are many research-backed ways that CBD oil may offer important support to a well-designed cancer-treatment plan for your canine companion. Support that might even make a difference in the efficacy of other treatments as well as in the overall quality of life for your pet during cancer treatment.
Although there is no known natural cancer cure for dogs, this article will direct you to the scientific research on CBD oil and various aspects of canine cancer treatments. Our hope is that you find enough information here that you can see for yourself and become an informed advocate for your pet’s best interests.
If you were looking for a well-researched guide to this natural remedy and cancer in dogs, you have found it!
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CBD as Part of a Vet-Approved Cancer Treatment Plan
Depending on the type of cancer, as well as the stage of progression it is in, a veterinarian or veterinary oncologist (a vet with a specialization in cancer) may recommend a variety of treatment protocols. Surgery to remove tumors, chemotherapy to help shrink them and auxiliary medications to address the side effects of treatment are all common approaches. In some cases, vets will recommend natural supplements such as cannabidiol (CBD).
The point is that fighting cancer in dogs usually follows a multifaceted approach. And, there is research to support the notion that CBD oil may be beneficial to canine cancer patients as part of a veterinarian approved treatment plan in the following 5 ways:
1. CBD Supports Anti-Tumor Medication
A lot of people rightly balk when they hear about CBD and its potential to help reduce the size of tumors. It is one of those claims that just sounds way too good to be true. However, did you know this is actually a relatively well-researched topic?
In fact, CBD has been shown to have anti-tumor effects in several types of human cancers, including:
As this study explains, in addition to having its own tumor-shrinking properties, CBD may so effectively enhance the tumor-shrinking mechanisms of radiation therapy that it may be possible to decrease the dosing of this treatment without decreased efficacy, thereby reducing the harmful and sometimes severe side effects of this therapy.
Another recent study demonstrated that mice with pancreatic cancer who were treated with CBD in addition to gemcitabine (a type of chemotherapy) had a threefold increase in survival rate over treatment with gemcitabine alone!
As more and more research on the science of cancer emerges, what researchers are coming to realize is that the body’s endocannabinoid system (yes, your furry friend has one of those, too) is intimately related to cancer. That is, the parts of the central and peripheral nervous system’s complex signaling process related to the development of cancer actively respond to cannabinoids such as CBD.
researchers point out, the more severe negative side effects may be understudied and, in fact, pose more of a threat to senior and immune-compromised dogs.
Meanwhile, the ability of CBD to reduce both pain and inflammation is well documented. In addition, it may enhance the mechanisms of other classes of pain medications, allowing doctors to prescribe fewer or less of these drugs without compromising the comfort of the patient.
Furthermore, research has suggested a strong safety profile for CBD in humans and dogs, with fewer and less-severe side effects than other pain-management drugs commonly prescribed by veterinarians.
3. Boosts the Immune System
We now know that the endocannabinoid system and the immune system are closely linked. This relationship is so strong that some researchers have coined a term for these interrelated systems: the “immunocannabinoid system.”
Moreover, CBD in particular has been identified for its ability to reduce oxidative stress, an important process related to the body’s ability to fight off invading pathogens without further attacking and damaging healthy tissue.
In addition, cannabinoids can help regulate healthy gut function, which is also connected to immune health. We will explore this in more detail below.
THC may act as a sleep agent, while CBD acts as a wake agent. This might not seem like it could help your suffering dog get a better night’s rest. However, research suggests that by promoting better “wake time” during the day, CBD oil may help with better sleep during the night cycle.
To be clear, this is an area of research that has had some mixed results in laboratory studies. In clinical practice, many veterinarians who use CBD as part of a complete cancer therapy may use a trial-and-error approach to find out if daytime, nighttime, or both works best to help their furry patients get a solid night’s sleep.
5. Helps with Nausea and Appetite
Unfortunately, the most common side effects of cancer treatment in dogs include problems maintaining a strong appetite and persistent nausea that can lead to anorexia. In addition, cancer-induced cachexia is a metabolic disorder that can be caused by several forms of cancer. It can also cause a severe loss of appetite and is the cause of as many as 20 percent of deaths among patients.
One of the reasons many oncologists are enthusiastic about the integration of cannabis-based medicine into a complete treatment program is the benefits various cannabinoids have for improving appetite and nausea.
In fact, it has been argued that the endocannabinoid system is deeply involved in regulating metabolism as well as overall gut health.
Believe it or not, the gut is jam-packed with endocannabinoid receptors, transmitters and enzymes. These systems help to maintain an environment favorable for the “good” gut flora as well as maintain a newly discovered “brain-gut” pathway thought to be critical to regulating a host of autonomic biological systems.
California Veterinary Medical Association recently won their push for legislation that would protect veterinarians in the state who wish to discuss cannabis-based medication with their clients.
Not all veterinarians are receptive to research on the health benefits of CBD. If you are interested in finding a veterinarian more open to CBD oil as part of a treatment program for cancer in canines, look for a holistic veterinarian in your area and book a consultation. In addition, be sure to invest in a quality, full-spectrum CBD oil made just for pets, such as that offered at LolaHemp.
Remember, CBD oil is not a dog cancer cure. However, there are research-backed reasons to support the idea that it may be a value-added supplement to a well-rounded cancer treatment program.