Pet owners may feel like they know more about CBD oil for pets than their veterinarians do. So why is this? Well Cannabis and CBD were up until recently, illegal in many countries. This meant that not much official research could be done into the medical applications without special permissions. This really stifled scientific progress. The USA, as in many industries, has taken the lead in medical application of CBD and THC (the psychotropic molecule associated with the hemp plant) but the legality regarding veterinarians discussing CBD with their clients in the US is still confusing with many US states having different laws.
In addition to this, many veterinarians are cautious as CBD does not have FDA approval, there is only 1 CBD product on the market that is FDA approved - Epidiolex, which is used for rare seizure disorders in children. What veterinarians also may not know is that many drugs we commonly use are not FDA approved. For example, Potassium Bromide only just received FDA approval in January 2021 for the control of seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Most veterinarians have used this medication for that exact reason in pets for many years.
The 2018 United States Farm Bill in the USA removed hemp and hemp extracts - including CBD from the controlled substance act, making it legal. After this landmark bill passing, CBD and THC have become a hot area of research in veterinary medicine with many universities being involved. Multiple papers have been published in the veterinary field in the last few 1-2 years, which is really exciting.
CBD for pets in Hong Kong is similar, THC and its breakdown product CBN (which is known to have great effects for sleep disorders) is still illegal. CBD is however legal but up until recently, there weren't that many quality CBD products available. Add to this, that over the past 18 months, there have been limited veterinary conferences due to COVID. Many of these newer alternative therapies and the research to support them are presented at international conferences, so unless a veterinarian is specifically looking for it, they may have missed it.
With more and more clients asking about CBD oil for pets, vets are forced to read up and educate themselves in order to be able to critically assess a case and decide if CBD is the best option for the patient. LOP & LOA is trying to bring the Hong Kong veterinarians up to date with the current research and how CBD can be beneficial to pets. We have a great CBD 101 page on the website, helping pet owners and vets to understand how CBD works. We also have a guide on how to pick a CBD product.
In addition, the LOP & LOA vets are on standby should any veterinarian want to discuss a case and find out more about dosing and suitability for a patient. By sharing knowledge and clinical experience, we empower ourselves and are able to offer more options for our clients and their pets.
We find that many pet owners are asking us about CBD for a variety of reasons such as...
- Separation anxiety, especially after all the working from home during the past 18 months and the recent return to the office
- Anxiety conditions, especially in the young Hong Kong mongrel dogs
- Thunderstorm phobias, as we enter typhoon season
- Cancers where chemotherapy and surgery are not suitable
- Seizure disorders, as an additional therapy or for those patients that have stopped responding to seizure medications
- Stress-related urine problems in cats
- Behavioural problems such as cats who urinate outside of the litter tray or inter-cat aggression
- Pain control alternative, especially if there are pre-existing kidney problems
CBD oil for pets in Hong Kong has exploded in recent months with so many products lining the shelves of pet stores and specialty shops with sales people spewing a lot of nonsense to make a sale.
As veterinarians, the most important thing is to consider the case first, ensure there is no underlying medical problem for what the patient is experiencing and to start conventional medicine that one is familiar with and knows will work. Then monitor how the patient responds, if this is not satisfactory or can be improved upon, then start to look at alternatives as an adjunct therapy. As exciting as CBD is, it is not always appropriate in every case and pet owners must understand this. However, when applied to the correct cases the results can be exceptional.
CBD can be beneficial for both dogs and cats and there is dog CBD oil, cat CBD oil and CBD oil for pets in general. So what is the difference between all these options?
Well the cat CBD oil may have a different delivery agent or flavouring to the dog CBD oil. Cat CBD oil often uses salmon oil to improve palatability. Manufacturers often opt to add flavourings - such as chicken or bacon to dog CBD oil. In some instances, the only difference between the two is the potency or mg/ml. Smaller pets need a less concentrated formula compared to larger pets. At the end of the day, the dog-only and cat-only CBD oil is more of a sales gimmick than anything else.
LOP & LOA has CBD based on pet size, as all species can use the same CBD, we also opt to add no additional flavours to keep the product as pure as possible and to suit many different species' taste preferences.