If cannabis can stop seizures in humans, can it treat epilepsy in dogs? Medical cannabis for pets is on the rise. For good reason, too. The herb may be an excellent new tool to ease suffering and pain in animals with chronic illness. Here’s why more pet owners are buying cannabis.
Pot for pooches
Last year, Gary Richter was voted one of Americas Favorite Veterinarians. But, this animal doctor does something a little different from the norm. Richter is an advocate for medical cannabis for pets. He has confidence in the herb after successfully treating his own dog with CBD.
Richter’s Shih Tzu, Leo, developed a seizure disorder after being attacked by another dog. Leo’s jaw was badly broken, and he underwent multiple surgeries to repair it. After recovery, suspected brain damage caused Leo to have several seizures each week.
After traditional medications failed, Richter decided to try something else. A California local, he turned to nonpsychoactive cannabis. He explains to Seeker,
As soon as I started working with medical cannabis, I knew Leo was going to be one of my first patients. I began him on high-CBD cannabis oil.
The cannabis oil worked. He continues,
Overall, Leo’s seizures are not greatly impacting his quality of life and the cannabis oil is helping with his general body soreness as well.
At the end of the day, he is still a 14-year-old dog and my goal is to promote and maintain his quality of life. The cannabis is helping me do this and allowing Leo’s golden years to be lived in comfort.
Can veterinarians give cannabis to pets?
Though CBD treatment has been anecdotally effective in reducing seizures, taking away arthritis and cancer pain, and improving the quality of life in senior animals, it is illegal for veterinarians to prescribe. However, pet owners in legal cannabis states are allowed to administer the herb to their pets.
One veterinary nurse, Kate Scott, now creates CBD-infused pet products for sick animals, VETCBD. They are available for purchase in California and contain only pet-safe ingredients. Other companies like CannaCompanion offer hemp-based CBD products for animals.
It’s important to note that cannabis pet products should contain only trace amounts of THC, preferably less than 0.3%. They are completely nonpsychoactive and will not get your pet high. Unlike humans, pets process THC differently. This is especially true when it is ingested orally. Animals are very sensitive to THC, and it should not be given to pets.
When not to give your pet cannabis
A low-dose CBD biscuit in a sick animal is one thing, but make sure Fido doesn’t get into any cannabutter or concentrates. In high amounts, cannabis is toxic to pets. Especially if it is mixed with toxic foods like chocolate.
In fact, some research suggests that the lethal dose is 3 grams of oral THC per kilogram of your pet’s weight. Cannabis has a high margin of safety and it takes quite a bit to harm a pet. But, highly concentrated candies and butter can produce harmful effects rather quickly.
The smaller the animal, the more likely it is to show signs of THC toxicity after eating activated cannabis products.
For more information cannabis toxicity in pets, check out the full article here.