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Medical Marijuana for Dogs?

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Has anyone tried medical marijuana on an ailing dog?

 

I did use a "butter" product made from reduced/boiled marijuana baked inside of salmon treats for a terminally ill dog in the last month of his life. It made things better. But I wasn't very concerned about long term side effects, etc. And he was so far gone, to be truthful, that I am not sure I would be a reliable witness as to what side effects might have been presented.

 

I have a dog who has chronic pain which is getting worse. She's a 6 years old Berner so she's at the end of her life expectancy and she has advanced and complicated dysplasia. She has stopped eating except when hand fed treat-type food, sleeps so fitfully that she never gets really rested and when she is given the pain meds perscribed, she just stops being her. You know - lethargic, sleepy, grouchy, not hungry, disinterested.

 

I am in the "is it time to put her down?" mode and want to do ANYTHING I can to give her the most quality time that I can. Time is not enough - it must be worth having, if you know what I mean. I think she has one, maybe two years left - she's otherwise healthy and has always been well cared for, etc.

 

Anyway - has anyone tried it on an animal expected to survive?

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I would be cautious due to the unknown mood altering effect in dogs. If she gets weirded out in a way she doesn't understand then it could make it worse. Also the lack of studies in dogs would make me hesitant. What products have you tried for her? Prescription meds? OTC products? Friends have recently had good succuess with a fairly miseravle poodle using Cetyl M on a daily basis and Tramadol as needed.

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She's been on a few NSAIDS, low dose coated aspirin - Tramadol and the few other strong pain meds have all had very serious side effects - most of which end in the dog being miserable in a new way.

 

I have a few anecdotal case studies to consider, my vet is open to the idea but reluctant to go ahead as there are, as you say, no studies and potential problems.

 

I was mostly wondering if anyone had tried it and, if so, what was their experience.

 

I am not sure dogs suffer the same side effects as humans (paranoia, in particular)- but some of them (appetite increase, reduced pain) would be good.

 

It just really breaks my heart to see the old giantess so ... you know ... down.

 

Mesa, the retired female BC that lives here in the house, has taken up sentry around her bed and won't let anyone but me near her.

 

:(

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I have a friend who is a pharmacy tech for a giant HMO. She says there is a medical marijuana salve that has the mood altering stuff taken out of it. Another friend uses it for chronic wrist pain and it really helps.

 

I'm thinking of using it for some intercostal muscle strains that are slow to heal. Perhaps the salve, though you'd have to shave her hips, might be a way to go.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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A friend used a "tincture" (I honestly have no idea if she made it or it was made for her) for her aging GSD and she swears by it. Said the old girl was sprightlier and obviously hurting less.

 

Not sure how you would get it even in a "legal for medical use" state though...do you live in Colorado or Washington?

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Can,t comment on marihuana for dogs but Have you considered acupuncture?

 

. Chronic pain is so debilitating and watching your dog or anyone/thing suffer is soul destroying/frustrating and heart wrenching.

 

 

You and your dog have my complete sympathy

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Obtaining ingredients is not an issue. I live in a place where it is legal and I am licensed.

 

I make several tinctures myself - including butter which contains the rendered non-psychotropic parts.

 

I, personally, am sold on the upside and now just want to gather as much info as I can on the downside, if one exists. I would not even consider it for a young animal recuperating from an injury or even a young animal with chronic pain - but for end-of-life stuff or last-resort stuff I think the potential downside is .... er ... unlikely to become an issue during the animal's lifetime.

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Yeah, we tried acupuncture. She got too stressed and it beccame the cure that was worse than the disease.

 

A niece has offered to hold a spell circle with her Wiccan friends. I know, I know. But I said, "Well, it can't hurt." Desperate times ...

 

I have owned five successive generations in the Berner's female line - her daughter is sitting here beside me as I type. You are right about it being a heartbreaker.

 

These are the moments that test you.

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If you do have access to it without the psychotropic element and she is doing so poorly then I'd be tempted to try it under the "what's the worst that could happen?" mentality. I'm a fan of minimalistic for everyday life, but if something has the potential to ease pain and improve quality toward the end of life then I'm all for it. My Kipp was on a cocktail of steroids, chemo and antibiotics with an anti-depressant thrown in for a few days at the end of his life. I cringed as I gave him the pills but they gave him two additional pretty good months.

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I don't know anything about this, but I do hope you can find a way to make your old girl more comfortable. The point where you have to make these kinds of decisions is such a difficult place to be. :(

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CMP, essentially your attitude is my attitude. A nurse at my mom's nursing home told us not to give mom any extra pain medication, as "We don't want her to become addicted". This was about 6 weeks before mom passed, due to heart disease and colon cancer. I hate that nurse with a passion.

 

I hope you can find something that makes your girl more at ease.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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My primary concern is toxic effects, seizures, loss of motor function - immediate side effects that would render it not helpful.

 

I have read of cases of drug overdose in dogs (dogs eating whole plants and people's stashes and what not) and the potential problems can be as severe as death - but I do not know what the deal is for managed doses or weight-adjusted doses, or whatever - for dogs. If she was a person I could probably deal :/

 

Just to say, I am going to try a dose which would be one third of what I really think she ought to have. I will monitor closely (starting with benchmarking) her temperature, heart rate, gum color, eye responsiveness and breathing. I contacted my vet to say I was going to do this and that she should be on stand-by :/

 

Okay, so now ... off I go to get my dog stoned.

 

Strange tides indeed.

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VERY interesting topic.

 

First, I hope you can find some relief for your pet. I am also of the belief that if a pet has deteriorated to the point that his/her life is pretty miserable, I would definitely use a product that may potentially have an upside (less misery - whatever that may mean for the individual pet), as long as any side-effects did not bring on other miseries.

 

rushdoggie - what an intriguing product. I skimmed the home page. It sounds a little "snake-oily", but hey, when one has run out of other options...... I hope to have time to go back and look at the website in more depth.

 

Before you pointed out that website, I was thinking about Charlotte's web cannabis. Googling it will provide a wealth of information. Basically, it is cannabis without the THC component (psychoactive component). The Canna-Pet sounds very similar in that the same or similar active compound is isolated.

 

As an aside: appetite stimulation. My almost-18 year old Sheltie rescue mix is on the downhill side, and one of the symptoms that was the most bothersome to me was her lack of interest in eating. It was becoming a vicious cycle - losing muscle and strength and weight, barely eating - which led to more weight loss and less energy and less interest in eating, etc. I had to go away for a couple of days and found a vet who would board her. I didn't want to put her in a kennel. Long story short, the vet had less luck getting her to eat than I did. (although that wasn't surprising since she was in a strange environment.) She suggested giving her an appetite stimulant - mirtazapine. It has been about 3 weeks now, and she hasn't missed a meal - and eats her meals with gusto.

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As an aside: appetite stimulation. My almost-18 year old Sheltie rescue mix is on the downhill side, and one of the symptoms that was the most bothersome to me was her lack of interest in eating. It was becoming a vicious cycle - losing muscle and strength and weight, barely eating - which led to more weight loss and less energy and less interest in eating, etc. I had to go away for a couple of days and found a vet who would board her. I didn't want to put her in a kennel. Long story short, the vet had less luck getting her to eat than I did. (although that wasn't surprising since she was in a strange environment.) She suggested giving her an appetite stimulant - mirtazapine. It has been about 3 weeks now, and she hasn't missed a meal - and eats her meals with gusto.

Kipp was on mirtazapine for a few days while we were waiting for all the labwork to come back. Basically it was an attempt to keep him going/stimulate his appetite until a concrete diagnosis was made and we could figure out where to go from there. It didn't do much for his appetite (his gut was messed up with cancer) but it did wonders for his attitude and kept him happy and wanting to do stuff until the chemo/prednisone started and knocked the cancer back so he was ready to eat again.

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I've seen numerous cases of marijuana ingestion in dogs and none have been very serious. The dogs are ataxic, maybe slower to respond to stimuli, or a little spacey. Yes, we used drug tests in the Emergency Room at school (West Philly)!! But now that it's legalized in CO and WA, a new problem is showing up. The butters, oils, etc. can be really dangerous to dogs for two reasons. Firstly, dogs are more likely to get an "overdose" because they tend to eat the whole stick of butter or the whole pan of brownies, and those cooking products with cannabis in them can be pretty concentrated. Secondly, there are different strains of cannabis that have different strengths, so to speak. Right now there really isn't a good system of quality control in the commercially available products, so you don't always know what you're getting. Are you using medicinal products?

 

There was an article in JAVMA about a year ago that interviewed a few vets who use it for chronic pain and cancer in dogs, cats, and horses. I did have the hard copy saved but can't find it right now. It was all anecdotal information, but a good read. I'll try to remember to look for the link tomorrow.

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Indica strains, usually used for cancer patients and in medical marijuana, would be too strong for an animal, would be my guess. Sativa strains, MUCH less potent and a fairly different conentration of components in the active elements, would be recommended.

 

A stick of butter would be bad even for a human. Consider a quarter stick (made with Indica) goes into a cookie recipe which yields 4 dozen cookies, ingested by an average size human at the rate of one per day = 1.5 months worth of pain/nausea relieved.

 

A stick would be equal to a six month dose for a 130 pound human with some tolerance. It would likely result in a severe overdose scenario for a dog - even a 110 pound dog.

 

What I gave her was the equivalent of 1/5 of a cookie over four hours - with food.

 

Other than some heavier than usual panting (it is also REALLY humid today) before she fell asleep, she showed no signs of distress. She slept for five hours which was the longest she has slept in a few months. She also ate. Not much, but she was interested in it. Downside is she is quite dopey and is drooling a bit. Urine and stool seem fine. She's hydrated and has good tone on her gums. Her reflexes are a bit off - but only a bit.

 

So. Now I know that if she has a very bad day, there is something that will, at least, let her sleep and give her an appetite and not make her so messed up that she pees on herself. I cannot tell you how this distresses her.

 

Standard disclaimer: THIS IS BY NO MEANS SCIENTIFIC AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS EVIDENCE FOR USING CANNIBAS ON YOUR DOG.

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Have you thought about giving her turmeric? Last month JJ was diagnosed with large cell lymphoma. A friend recommended giving him turmeric and collard greens. Because he’s on prednisone and I didn’t know if turmeric acts like a NSAID I asked his vet about it. She couldn’t find any studies on it but liked what she found about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties and gave me the ok to give it to him. She told me it might upset his stomach so only give him about ¼ teaspoon once or twice a day. I give it to him about every other day because I don’t want to upset his stomach but we can’t believe how much better he acts. He still pants a lot but not as much. He also still has a twinkle in his eyes and enjoys playing…at least the best he can play at this point. I can’t say if the collards are helping but with the increase of appetite due to the prednisone and with his back end getting weaker at least they help fill his stomach without making him gain weight. Something to think about….

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Yeah, I tried tumeric this spring. No matter what we tried with it - it caused constipation.

 

Mesa, the BC who is guarding the Berner presently, actually gets tumeric every day as part of her live-well-in-retirement plan - she has the aches and pains of a life spent on steep hills chasing sheep. I'm a big fan of non-chemical intervention where possible.

 

A lot of natural remedies get used around here - not in an effort to save money (although it does happen to do that) but as part of a general philosophy.

 

Thanks to everyone for their input.

 

 

UPDATE:

 

at 6:00 AM Nyla (ill Berner) woke up from her second bout of sleep - this one lasting 4 hours - and for the first time in a very long while, wanted to stay out with the puppies and younger dogs when she went out for her morning business. She just laid there and didn't move but she definitely wanted to be there. Lately she has not wanted to be near the crazies - especially in the mornings when they're like wildebeasts who have been caged for a hundred years :)

 

She does look a litle dopier than ususal (Berner/AM = dopey by nature) but I suspect I am looking for that and am, therefore, finding it.

 

Mesa took off to the farmyard this morning, so SHE thinks things are better today. I'm going to trust her instincts. She's saved a lot of lambs over the years.

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I'm sure I saw something a few months ago about the use of med. pot for dogs with different medical problems - like seizures. Can't remember where I saw it. But I figured someone would be working on it. If it works for serious seizure problems in children there's a good chance it will work with dogs.

 

I do know that pot is not good for dogs to eat. Very much can be really dangerous for a dog. So people with pot where it's legal now need to watch and be sure the dogs can't get into it.

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Nice to read that things are looking up. Hope it continues, and I'll be looking into turmeric for my intercostal muscle strain.

 

Give Nyla a scratch for me.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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