How CBD Eased Our Dog’s Cancer Pain
There is probably no word that frightens us as much as “cancer”, and it does not lose any of its impact when it is applied to our pets. Americans spent, on average, $1 billion on their pets in 2020, an indication that people want the best care possible for their fur friends. Quality care includes alleviating pain and symptoms that arise from the onset of cancer. Thus, enter CBD.
“When we got the diagnosis that Dakota had cancer, the disease had already progressed beyond the point that it could be effectively treated,” explained Miriam, a Brooklynite whose family had raised the dachshund since it was a puppy. “We had a really tough decision to make: do we euthanize her? Or can we find a way to keep her with us and give her a decent quality of life?”
With a daughter and son, both under 10 years old, the decision was even harder.
“We had to provide palliative care,” she said. “It was all we could do.”
The family consulted the vet who had made the original diagnosis. “This is New York, and since CBD is not officially approved for medical treatment here, veterinarians in the state are not supposed to talk about it unless the pet owner brings it up first,” she continued. “We brought it up.”
CBD For Treating Dogs With Cancer
Dakota’s vet was well-versed in the use of CBD for treating dogs with cancer. He explained that there have been numerous studies on the efficacy of CBD in treating dogs and that many had produced results suggesting that CBD could be a valuable component of treatment. The studies have not been large enough or long enough time-wise to enable any definitive science-based conclusions. But dogs, he explained, have an endocannabinoid system similar to that in humans. So, there is a real possibility that CBD works similarly in dogs as it does in humans.
“As much as we may have hoped – or fantasized — we knew it was not going to be a miracle drug that would simply cure Dakota,” Miriam said, “but she was a member of the family and the only real pet my kids had known. My husband and I decided that we owed it to Dakota, and we owed it to our kids, to nurse her along as best we could…We didn’t know if CBD would work. I had my doubts, but we had to try it. At that point, we had to try anything that might help. She was part of the family.”
Miriam administered CBD oil using a dropper, beginning with a very small dose and increasing it slightly over a period of days.
The Noticeable Differences: Thank You CBD
“After a couple of days,” she recalled, “Dakota seemed to be more relaxed. She was eating well. She displayed some of the affection for us that seemed to have waned with the advance of the illness. She just seemed more relaxed.”
A placebo effect usually works on the patient ingesting a new medication. Obviously, Dakota had no idea that the liquid she swallowed from the dropper was meant to treat her illness. Her signs of improvement could not have been psychosomatic.
But Miriam wondered if administering CBD did not have a placebo effect on her.
“After a week or so,” she said, “I stopped giving it to her for a couple of days, just to see if her behavior would change. And it did. She could barely get up without it.”
According to some studies, CBD could be an agent in shrinking tumors or, at least, in stunting their growth. CBD appears to inhibit the proliferation of blood vessels in tumors, which is the mechanism for their growth. Although the jury is still out on these issues, larger and more extensive research studies stretching across years will eventually provide proof, one way or the other, regarding CBD’s possible role in fighting cancer and whether it should be incorporated in cancer treatments.
As for Miriam, it appears that CBD provided a quality of life for both Dakota and, indeed, for the family that might not otherwise have been possible.
A Sweet CBD Goodbye
“I’m convinced that CBD enabled Dakota to come to the end of her life in as much peace as we could possibly provide her,” she said. “In the end, of course, the cancer won, and we decided that euthanasia was the best path. We discussed it as a family, and as painful as it was, we found peace in our decision. The kids were incredibly understanding and brave. We made sure that she knew she was loved.
“We took her to the vet while the kids were with friends. And when we came back, we told them what we had done and reminded them that we had given her as much peace and love and comfort as we could. We were all confident about that. Then we all hugged each other and had a good, long cry.”
Written By: Jeffrey Sioe
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