Budtender Endangers Cancer Dog & Victimizes Pet Owner
Many of our clients come directly from the vet’s office, especially when their beloved pets are just diagnosed with cancer. We work with many clients and vets themselves who are calling us to understand what we do and how we ensure pet safety with our products. In fact, we’re currently treating over 10 animals owned by vets, vet techs or veterinary medical workers.
This story came straight from a renowned vet to our inbox less than 10 days ago, verbatim:
“A client comes into my office today with a dog that was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor . She panicked at the diagnosis and went to a dispensary. The dispensary sold her a 1:1 oil, a 100:1 CBD dominant oil, two different 100:1 THC dominant oils, and an unlabeled syringe that I can only assum e is some kind of Rick Simpson Oil.
The client had no idea what she had bought or how to give any of it other than she thinks the dispensary told her one of the products was supposed to be topical. Fortunately, she had enough sense not to give anything before coming in.”
A Cautionary Tale/Tail – Good Intentions Are Not Enough
While the sales person and the dispensary may have the desire to help the distraught pet owner, good intentions are not enough. The reason is simple: human medical or recreational cannabis products are not appropriate for medical use with your pets.
Why not? Safety is the highest priority, and the example above indicates several critical concerns:
> Potency: The amount of THCd-9 in the pictured products is more than sufficient to intoxicate the dog, causing disorientation, hyperactivity, low or elevated heart rate and blood pressure, lethargy, drop in body temperature, respiratory depression , or even potentially death. We at right:ratio also are concerned about the potential of CBD being a cardio-stimulant which can increase cardiac activity, so even if the products were CBD “only,” the dog’s safety could have been put at risk by using a product that may be far too potent for a dog, especially one battling cancer.
> Dosing: Perhaps thankfully, the budtender who sold the pictured products to the distressed pet owner, apparently did not provide any advice regarding how to use the products with a dog. That’s probably a good thing, considering there is evidence that the canine brain has many more endocannabinoid receptors than the human brain , which means there is a higher sensitivity to cannabinoids and requires much more careful dosing in dogs. We measure cannabinoids in right:ratio to the hundredth of a milligram/milliliter and blend them to that level of precision.
> Mixing Medical Cannabis Treatments: The pet owner’s scenario is all the more confounding because in our experience at right:ratio, there is no safety or efficacy bases for mixing several disparate cannabis products for medical benefit in dogs. We suggest to pet owners who may be using CBD Oils (whatever that means in today’s market) that they cease using that product if they desire to use right:ratio for their pet’s medical condition because the interplay of cannabinoids is part of the medicine and we provide a carefully selected ratio of key cannabinoids for the particular condition treated that could potentially be destroyed by the addition of other cannabis products.
Unleash Our Vets to Lead Medical Cannabis for Pets
Veterinarians Should Lead Medical Cannabis for Pets, not Just Prevent Medical Disasters Like this Month’s Example
We have been promoting awareness of the California legal limitations that prevent veterinarians from discussing or recommending medical cannabis, if appropriate, since appearing in front of the Veterinary Medical Board earlier this year. Things are moving as legislation referred to as AB-2215 is now progressing beyond the Appropriations Committee and will hopefully be considered by the entire Assembly.
The cause is gaining momentum and there will be a major publicity announcement soon, but in the mean time, you can write to Ash Kalra’s office, the legislator sponsoring legislation that may lift limits on vets or sign the petition started by Dr. Gary Richter, DVM.
Use CBD for Palliative Care of Your Dog
Whenever one of our pups get sick we get very concerned. It’s habit I guess. We lost one dog early due to renal failure. Another three to cancer. One to a neurological disorder. With the knowledge I have today, there are a lot of things I’d do differently for our failing pups. One of them is to add CBD to their care routine. To help manage their pain. I’ve learned how to work with CBD for a number of health issues, that’s why I thought I’d share how you can use CBD for palliative care of your dog.
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General CBD Background
CBD is one of the major cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. While CBD has been widely used in non-traditional medicine for centuries, it’s only recently that it has been accepted in modern medicine. Recent studies show the importance of CBD for medicinal purposes. Because of the presence of CBD receptors in our, and animal’s, central nervous and immune systems, CBD is now at the forefront, gaining medicinal importance.
A lot of studies have shown the benefits of CBD in managing palliative conditions, such as cancer, in humans. There are also ongoing studies to understand how CBD can be used to prevent palliative conditions. And, because dog’s have CBD receptors, it’s clear that the benefits afforded to humans can now be provided to our pooches too. This is great news!
What Conditions Does CBD Help With?
Numerous studies have found that CBD is effective for managing conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also been shown that CBD has anti-cancer properties. These can help delay the onset of cancer, as well as delay the progression of established cancer. Based on evidence from research, healthcare professionals now also agree on the benefits of CBD for managing multiple sclerosis. Research has also established that CBD delays the onset of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Palliative care is an approach to care that improves the quality of life of patients facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems.
World Health Organization
Palliative Care for Pets
While palliative care has been around for a long time, it’s only very recently used for dogs. Many pet parents practice palliative care when they know their pup’s time is right around the corner. But, as a profession, it’s only been recently recognized – and it takes a devoted, selfless person to care for an animal that may soon pass. Using CBD for palliative care is definitely new for animals, but has been practiced in humans for some time.
How to Approach the use of CBD for Palliative Care
The best way to use CBD for palliative care is linked to its importance in managing the symptoms associated with the primary sickness. Palliative conditions are generally known as life-limiting conditions which affect vital organs and could potentially spread to other vital organs. You’ll most often see this in cancer patients. Our dogs with cancer did not have ‘good luck,’ where things go into remission. Almost every time, post oncology visit, our pups would get sick… From what, theoretically, should be making them better.
So, each time we chose to withdraw our dogs from chemo, and treat them through palliative measures. Helping to manage the pain, and focus on quality of life. Each time, I recall driving home, seeing the rain trickling down my car windshield… And feeling the trickle of my tears mirroring the weather outside. It’s not an easy decision. But, we made it, knowing our pups would not suffer.
Canine Cancer & Other Palliative Conditions
Cancer is a palliative condition with a much higher occurrence in canines in recent times. The types of cancers that are known to affect dogs include skin cancers, bone cancers, and lymphomas. Traditional means of managing these cancers include the use of radiation as well as chemotherapy.
Both common methods are known to be associated with side-effects that may reduce the quality of a dog’s life. Even if they are able to beat cancer. The after affects of canine cancer are real and can last for years post treatment. These can include:
- Nerve damage
- Low immunity
- Cognitive problems, memory loss
- Chronic pain
- Mouth sores
- Upset stomach
- Heart problems
- Reduced lung capacity
- Bone and joint issues
- Muscle weakness
Renal, or Kidney, Disease
Like my Mattie had, renal, or kidney disease is becoming very common in dogs. 1 in 10 dogs will very likely develop kidney disease over their lifetime (source). The kidneys are responsible for filtering blood and removing protein waste, balance water, salt, and acids, and to maintain red blood cells. A pretty important organ.
Want to know what’s a real bummer about kidney disease? You likely won’t know your dog has it until it’s too late. Renal issues typically go undetected until the kidneys are at approximately 30% of their working capacity. Signs of kidney disease typically start with dehydration and ‘laziness.’ If you live in a warm climate, it’s very hard to recognize these signs. Once diagnosed, there really isn’t much you can do for your dog. Fluid therapy and diet play a key role as dialysis and kidney transplants aren’t available for dogs. Yet.
While an occasional seizure typically doesn’t warrant CBD, ongoing seizures does. There are numerous causes for seizures in dogs. Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common underlying cause of seizures in pups. While the exact cause of idiopathic epilepsy is not known, we do know that it is an inherited disorder. Some other causes for seizures include kidney failure, liver disease, brain tumors, or toxins. Spike, our little 4.5lbs Chihuahua developed neurological disorders and had a seizure post vaccination.
While seizures alone won’t typically kill a dog, the affects of “status” seizures may. Status seizures last over five minutes long. They are incredibly dangerous as they can raise a dog’s body temperature to the point of causing brain damage. This is why it’s important to consider CBD should your dog have seizures.
The above list of conditions is not complete. I could have added to it enough to make this a very long read. But, I think you get my point. Palliative-level illnesses often require some of the most harsh treatment, including chemicals, in order to save your pup’s life. These treatments may or may not work, and on top of the initial illness, your pup will likely have major side effects that impact quality of life.
How to Use CBD for Palliative Care of Your Dog
Understanding the causes of serious illnesses helps us see the need for a holistic method for managing the side-effects associated with the sicknesses, as well as the treatments. That’s why so much research has gone into the use of CBD, and in particular CBD oil, to treat the progression of disease, including tumors. As well as nausea, gastrointestinal issues, pain, neurocognitive disorders, and seizures.
We can’t really say, “oh your dog has cancer, take CBD.” While it likely won’t hurt, we should wait to see what each dog exhibits. Some may tolerate cancer treatment, and other dogs may not. Some may tolerate the treatment, but develop nausea. Each pet is unique. That’s why each illness needs a unique approach to treatment.
Chelsey Trip, DVM, DACVIM
Pay Attention to the Symptoms
For cancer, the associated symptoms that could be managed through CBD include appetite loss, hair loss, low white blood cell count and gastrointestinal symptoms. Research has demonstrated that CBD is effective for managing these symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to inflammation, you do not want it in your dog. Or you. It truly messes with your body in very harsh ways. CBD has great efficacy in managing inflammation.
Cancer Symptom: Tumor Progression
The effectiveness of CBD for managing cancer may be linked to its ability to inhibit the development, and progression, of tumors. Studies have shown that CBD is fairly effective in counteracting carcinogenics. Mounting evidence shows that cannabinoids slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects. Peer-reviews recently conducted throughout the world show that cannabinoids have a direct antitumoral effect.
Dosing: CBD For Palliative Care
If your pet has a palliative or long-term health condition, you are likely in fairly constant contact with a vet. That is great. You may also want to see a holistic vet, and have the two collaborate for the best outcome for your dog. A holistic vet often has much more practical knowledge of CBD. Dosing CBD generally starts in the same manner:
- Convert your dog’s weight in pounds to kilograms = #1
- Divide #1 by 2.2 (#1/2.2) = #2
- Multiply #2 by .25 (#2 x .25) = starting dose in milligrams
Example for a 15 pound dog:
- 15 pounds equals 6.8 kilograms (this is #1)
- 6.8 kilograms / 2.2 = 3.0909 (this is #2)
- 3.0909 x .25 = 0.727 milligrams or approximately 1 mg, 2X a day
However, you’ll want your holistic and conventional vets to collaborate based on symptoms, other medications, etc. How to use CBD for palliative care depends on a variety of health concerns, as well as the type of CBD. For example, with Spike, our tiny, little guy. He started with a very small amount. However, the more his neurological conditions progressed he was on a 3 milligrams, three times a day. This helped him greatly right up to the very end. My little boy – he sure was a fighter!
Note: CBD is generally considered safe. However, it can lower blood pressure. It can also, interview with certain drugs (same as grapefruit). This is why it’s important to coordinate with your pup’s vets on an approach.