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.
2. Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Pain and inflammation can be side effects of treatment or symptoms of the progression of the disease itself. Pain management is almost always a part of how to treat cancer in dogs.
Unfortunately, many prescription pain medications have unwanted side effects. Opioid medications run the risk of ever-increasing tolerance and the potential for overdose. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have increasingly been scrutinized for their significant side effects in some canines, including serious GI problems, liver and kidney failure, and even death.
As 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.
4. Improves Sleep
Although research has shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in modulating sleep, the details as to what role each cannabinoid is playing are still being worked out. It is thought that THC and CBD, the two most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis (note that hemp strains contain only trace amounts of THC), work in opposite ways.
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.
Talk to Your Vet about CBD for Dog Cancer
Although CBD oil is a natural product that is available over the counter without a prescription, it is still important to discuss using it with your vet. This is particularly important if your pooch is receiving other treatments or medications.
Cannabidiol does have known drug interactions. In some cases, this may mean you can use fewer medications, such as those prescribed for pain management. In other cases, your vet may recommended that you give cannabidiol at a different time than other medications to make sure this potent supplement won’t interfere with the actions of other drugs.
In some areas of the country, cannabis-based medicine for pets has received full-throated support from the veterinary community. For example, the 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.
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.
Find Relief with CBD Oil for Lymphoma in Dogs
Posted by Michael Jones on January 03, 2019
Updated at: April 06, 2021
No one wants to discover that their dog has lymphoma, the most common kind of cancer in dogs. Unfortunately, it is the reality for many pet owners. If you have already learned that your dog has lymphoma or fear that it does, read this blog post to learn about the disease and how CBD oil for Lymphoma in dogs may alleviate a lot of emotional and physical pain for your dog and you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Understanding Lymphoma in Dogs
Lymphoma is a group of cancers that affect humans and dogs that can very simply be described as a cancer of the lymphatic system.
This is a vast and important system in the body that influences the immune system and other crucial bodily functions. Not only does it impact many bodily functions, and therefore interact with many parts of the body, the lymphatic system itself is very complex and dependent on its various parts for each basic function. The whole system and its point for existing depends on movement all over the body, so lymphoma is not as contained as we think of most cancers. It doesn’t start in one place with one tumor and hopefully stay there for a long time. It is far too likely for lymphoma to spread all over the body, and quickly.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a drainage network involved with both the immune and circulatory system. It is made of up several parts, lymph nodes and other organs such as the spleen, appendix, and tonsils, lymph vessels, and lymph fluid. It’s all about the distribution and cleansing of that lymph fluid.
Lymph fluid is a watery substance that escapes from the circulatory system, and it is made of escaped material dogs need and waste materials. The lymph system picks it up and carries it where it needs to go, which takes it all over the body. If not for the lymph system, this fluid would build up in the body, causing swelling and the buildup of toxins.
While the lymphatic system moves lymph through the body, carrying the good where it needs to go, it also filters out bad things, like germs and toxins. White blood cells are in the lymphatic system, so that immune system action we hear about where white blood cells attack what isn’t supposed to be in the body goes on in both the blood stream and the lymphatic system.
Canine lymphoma is a broad term for more the than 30 different types of cancer that attack a dog’s lymphatic system. It is very similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people, so similar that the chemotherapy treatment is almost identical.
It begins like other cancers as a single tumor, but because the lymphatic system’s function is to spread fluid all over the body to various organs, it is not likely to stay that way for long.
There are many types of lymphoma, so they, thankfully, do not all spread at the same rate. Some are more contained. Unfortunately, the most common lymphoma in dogs is one that does spread rapidly, multicentric lymphoma.
Canine lymphoma is broken up into stages like human cancers. These are based on the degree to which it has spread through the body.
The World Health Organization has designated the lymphoma stages as follows:
- Stage I – cancer is contained in a single lymph node
- Stage II – cancer is contained in multiple lymph nodes on one side of the diaphragm (either the top or the bottom of the dog).
- Stage III – cancer is only contained in the lymph nodes themselves
- Stage IV – cancer is located in the liver and spleen or hepatosplenomegaly, whether it started there or spread there.
- Stage V – cancer is in the bone marrow, central nervous system, or other parts of the body.
Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs
The symptoms of canine lymphoma vary by the type of lymphoma, but there are many common symptoms to be on the lookout for.
The first and most common symptom of canine lymphoma is the presence of a swollen lymph node, or several. This will be a firm, rubbery lump underneath your dog’s skin. Thankfully, a swollen lymph node isn’t painful for the dog.
If you know where their lymph nodes are, you can recognize that it is these nodes that are swollen, and if you don’t already know where your dog’s lymph nodes are, you may want to learn and start getting accustomed to feeling for them while petting your dog. Should one or more of these be swollen, you need to get them to a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.
Take comfort in the fact that it is not guaranteed that a swollen lymph node means cancer. Like with humans, a simple infection can cause it, but because canine lymphoma is so serious, you should waste no time getting it checked out.
While swollen lymph nodes are the most common symptom, they are not always present or easy to feel. Some lymph nodes are located in places where they may be hard to notice. Your vet may notice them during a routine checkup. You can also take the added precaution of making yourself aware of the other common symptoms of canine lymphoma.
Other common symptoms of lymphoma in dogs:
- lack of appetite
- weight loss
- edema (or swelling) of the face or legs due to inadequate fluid drainage
- occasionally increased thirst and/or urination
Because there are so many kinds of lymphoma, some of them have very different symptoms.
Cutaneous lymphoma affects their skin, appearing as dry, red, flaky patches that can spread all over their body. It may be accompanied by masses under the skin. This one is a slower-growing lymphoma.
Gastrointestinal lymphoma affects their digestive system, and its symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, foul-smelling excrement, and rapid weight loss.
Mediastinal lymphoma appears as labored or otherwise difficult breathing due to either a mass or a fluid buildup.
Traditional Treatments for Canine Lymphoma
Canine lymphoma is not a curable disease. It can go into remission, but that means it is also likely to return. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, the median time before lymphoma returns is 6 to 12 months. In 20 to 25% of cases, dogs live 2 years or longer after the cancer has gone into remission, and even if it returns and they undergo a second treatment, they still have a median survival rate of 336 days. That means canine lymphoma treatments may give your dog an additional 3 years of life, or more.
Surgery is not the primary treatment because of the traveling nature of the disease. Chemotherapy is the most common option, with radiation and surgery being used in conjunction sometimes when it is beneficial to treat a mass or specific area.
Veterinarians treat the dog to hopefully make the cancer go into remission or to manage their symptoms so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. If the cancer goes into remission, there will be no detectable signs of the disease and the dog will suffer no more symptoms unless the cancer returns.
It is important to start the treatment as soon as possible. Many pet owners are tempted to put off the chemotherapy because their dog does not act sick yet and they fear the treatments will make them sicker than they have to be, but the treatment is much more effective when begun while the dog is in a healthier state. The cancer has a great likelihood of going into remission, whereas, if you put the treatment off until the dog is suffering, remission may no longer be possible.
IVG hospitals reports that “remission is achieved in 80-90% of dogs and typically lasts 6-9 months. The length of remission depends upon many factors including the primary site of the cancer, how sick an animal is at the start of treatment and the extent of disease.”
They also state that dogs that do not undergo treatment can be expected to live only 1 to 2 months. There is critically short time to treat your dog for canine lymphoma.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy in Dogs
Thankfully, chemotherapy is not as hard on dogs as it is on humans. It is possible that they may not suffer any negative side effects at all.
If your dog does suffer negative side effects of chemotherapy, they may be:
neuropathic pain immediately following the treatment
lethargy for a couple of days following treatment
No one wants to discover that their dog has lymphoma, the most common kind of cancer in dogs. Unfortunately, it is the reality for many pet owners. If you have already learned that your dog has lymphoma or fear that it does, read this blog post to learn about the disease and how CBD oil for Lymphoma in dogs may allevia