CBD Oil Can Help Cats Too!

Too often people forget about cats when discussing new and alternative treatments. When searching Dr. Google, it is easy to find many websites promoting use of CBD products in dogs, yet not-so-surprisingly, there is much less being said about their use in feline patients. There are probably multiple reasons for this, the first being that most of our feline companions are happiest in life when we just leave them alone. It is common for cats to be reclusive, making it hard for owners to detect if something is wrong with their pet. In addition, as a species in general, most cats are extremely stoic and do not always show signs of illness early on. Their small size, flexibility, and normal behavior enable them to deceive even very perceptive owners, and sometimes veterinarians as well. When a problem is detected, even treatment can be more difficult as most cats are typically much harder to medicate compared to dogs—some are just downright impossible! One of the things that makes CBD an attractive alternative in feline medicine is that it is available in many different forms, and that typically if using CBC oil itself, only a very small amount needs to given. This makes administration easy even for fractious or finicky cats. The list of diseases that CBD oil may potentially help treat in cats is very similar to that of dogs. It is important to note that even though cats suffer from many of the same conditions that dogs do, veterinarians are not always able to safely use the same medications in both species. This is particularly true of arthritis. Dogs with orthopedic pain are typically treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDS, however, this class of drug has a very narrow margin of safety in our feline patients, especially when considering long-term treatment. CBD oil is a potentially safer option, compared to commercial NSAIDS. Another disease that is less commonly encountered in dogs, and occurs much more frequently in cats, is asthma. Treating cats for asthma often involves addressing environmental triggers such as smoke and dust, but usually requires the use of steroids and bronchodilators. Steroids in particular are known to causes significant side effects with chronic usage, while bronchodilators are often stressful to administer as many cats will not tolerate the use of a face mask and inhaler. In this case CBD oil can not only help address primary pulmonary inflammation, and therefore decrease the amount of steroids that are needed to maintain a good quality of life in these animals, but it can also provide a small amount of sedation to help ease administration of the inhaled medications as well. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas is another commonly encountered disease in cats. While dogs suffer from this condition too, anorexia and vomiting can be more challenging to treat in feline patients. Low fat diets are the mainstay of treating pancreatic inflammation, however, many cats view these foods as less palatable. In these patients, CBD products can be used to help improve appetite, decrease nausea and vomiting, and decrease stomach pain. It is important to note that the uses of oils are generally discouraged for this disease, as oils are higher in fat. As an alternative, CBD capsules can be given. One of the most frustrating diseases to treat in cats is stomatitis, a painful ulcerative condition of the oral cavity that is thought to be causes by a mixture of viral, immune-mediated, and dental etiologies. Standard treatment is often drastic and usually involves full mouth extractions, a very stressful and expensive process for both cats and owners. At least 30-40% of these patients will have recurrence or be completely refractory to treatment even after the necessary extractions have been performed. In addition to use of the intranasal feline respiratory vaccine, antiviral medications such an interferon, pain medications including steroids and non-steroidals, and antibiotic therapy, CBD oil can be used as an adjunctive treatment to help decrease gingival inflammation, increase appetite, and decrease pain.
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