What Pet Owners Should Know About CBD

Alternative Therapies, Cats, Dogs

By now, you have likely heard about CBD. Maybe someone you know is using it to treat their pets, or perhaps you read saw on the internet describing it as a new wonder drug. But what should you, as a pet owner, know before considering the purchase of a CBD product?

What is CBD?

CBD (or cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis plants. It is not psychoactive, like THC. It has, however, been advertised as a way to treat a variety of conditions, including seizures, anxiety, and pain.

There is little research on CBD in cats and dogs

As of this time, we do not yet have data to back up any claims people have made about using CBD to treat cats and dogs. There is, however, veterinary research currently underway.

A recently published study at Colorado State University evaluated how effective CBD was in treating epilepsy (seizure disorder) in dogs. Results showed a significant reduction in seizures in dogs treated with CBD as compared to the control group. These results are promising, but the sample size was small.

There are larger studies in progress looking at both epilepsy as well as for osteoarthritis. Preliminary results are also good for these studies, so we may have evidence in the future to support its use.

CBD use may cause side effects

In the Colorado State University epilepsy study mentioned above, 89 percent of dogs treated with CBD had an elevation in liver enzyme values. These values indicate that the CBD may have damaged or degraded cells in dog livers.

Don’t trust what you read on the label

Pet owners should be aware that the CBD market is currently unregulated. This means you cannot always trust what is written on the label. A 2017 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 70 percent of human CBD products had mislabeled their amount of CBD content. It is likely that similar misrepresentations exist in pet CBD products.

Legal issues with CBD

Due to legal limitations, CBD is not a treatment option we as veterinarians can recommend at this time. This means we can not navigate you to a safe option, and use will need to be done at your own risk.

Other things to consider before buying a CBD product

  1. Ask for a certificate of analysis
  2. Ensure the product is derived from a hemp plant
  3. Buy CBD products from companies that support scientific research

We do recommend you tell us if you are giving your pet CBD during your appointment, as this ensures we are well informed and can make the best decisions for your pet.

– Dr. Heather Preston

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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