Despite all the advances made in canine health and wellbeing, lymphoma, a form of cancer diagnosis, is still one of the most common diseases affecting dogs. This is why many pet parents look for alternative treatments and end up asking: Does CBD help dogs with lymphoma?
Today’s best CBD oil for dogs can supplement traditional lymphoma treatment plans or palliative care for your aging pet. The most important consideration is that CBD can improve your dog’s quality of life by easing anxiety, nausea, pain, and inflammation.
Canine CBD oil and tincture formulations do not include any THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis. This fact means that dogs will benefit from the soothing effects of CBD without any unwanted THC-related effects.
Understanding Canine Lymphoma
Lymphoma derives its name from the lymphatic system, which this type of cancer attacks. Both humans and canines have a lymphatic system, and this important network of internal tubes regulates body fluids, removes cellular waste, and protects the body from illness. Lymphoma spreads from multiple lymph nodes to other parts of the body, reducing the system’s ability to fight off infections. This type of cancer spreads quickly, finding its way into bodily organs and causing them to fail.
If left untreated, a dog with lymphoma usually has four to six weeks of life expectancy after diagnosis. With treatment, life expectancy may extend for another few months, up to 12 to 36 months in better scenarios.
Canine lymphoma falls into four main types, which affect various parts of the body:
- Multicentric lymphoma: About 80% of canine lymphoma cases are multicentric. This lymphoma spreads quickly, initially affecting the dog’s lymph nodes before spreading. This typically occurs more often in middle-aged and older dogs and in certain canine species that might have a genetic predisposition.
- Alimentary lymphoma: Another common type, this lymphoma occurs in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
- Mediastinal lymphoma: This rare form of lymphoma attacks lymph nodes or the thymus, located in the dog’s chest.
- Extranodal lymphoma: Another rare type of dog lymphoma, this form affects the eyes, kidneys, the nervous system, lungs, or skin.
In the early stages, lymphoma in dogs symptoms often mimic other, less severe ailments. Have your vet check your pup’s lymph nodes during checkups for other issues to be on the safe side.
Symptoms of Dog Lymphoma
A prevalent symptom of lymphoma in your dog is enlarged swollen lymph nodes . Your vet knows where to feel on your dog to check for enlarged or unusually firm lymph glands. Enlarged lymph nodes do not always indicate that your pup has cancer, but any swelling warrants further investigation because of the seriousness of the disease.
Other typical symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, swollen face or legs, or increased thirst or urination. Specific types of dog lymphoma may trigger additional symptoms. In lymphoma of the skin, one of the first symptoms is flaky, dry, itchy, and patchy red areas on your dog’s body.
Gastrointestinal lymphoma causes vomiting, noticeable weight loss, and frequent loose or watery stools. Mediastinal lymphoma causes dogs to have breathing troubles due to accumulated fluid or a large mass in the chest area.
Many of these symptoms appear in other, less-serious afflictions such as allergies or typical tummy troubles. Have your vet check for swollen lymph nodes to rule out lymphoma or start treatment if your dog has these symptoms.
Can CBD Help?
Many canine health supplements include CBD, even for dogs not fighting cancer or other diseases, because they promote pet wellbeing. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been used to successfully treat several health effects of canine lymphoma and some of the side effects of chemotherapy.
Some studies have shown that CBD in canines can slow the growth of cancer cells, especially when used with chemotherapy drugs such as vincristine or doxorubicin. However, CBD alone does not prevent canine cancer or cure the disease. CBD also does not treat the symptoms or put the disease into remission.
So what can CBD do for your pet? It works well for calming your pet’s anxiety, which comes in handy during the most likely frequent vet visits. CBD offers a safe option for relieving any pain associated with the disease. You may also manage lymphoma-related inflammation due to CBD’s natural anti-inflammatory properties.
If your pet is undergoing chemotherapy, you can use CBD oil or tincture to stimulate appetite. CBD can also provide a mild energy boost, fighting some of the chemotherapy-related fatigue. As in humans, some chemo drugs for dogs can cause nausea, which CBD helps alleviate.
Choosing the Right CBD Products
Canine CBD products come in many forms, from capsules and treat to tinctures. The oil has a rather distinct taste and smell, so treats work well for picky dogs or those with a minimal appetite. CBD treats often contain oats, dried blueberries, apples, sweet potatoes, or other ingredients dogs love. See our list of today’s best CBD dog treats.
For less picky pups, a hunk of cheese or peanut butter can probably offer enough masking to entice your pup. Pet CBD products typically come with dosage instructions for proper feeding. If you have a larger, heavier dog, you may need to increase the quantity of CBD to achieve the treatment effects you desire for your pet.
You can also buy a bottle of CBD oil and create your own dog treats by infusing the liquid into any porous-type dog biscuits or other favorite treats. When choosing the best CBD oil in terms of purity and quality, use the same approach you would use to choose high-quality supplements for yourself. Full spectrum CBD oil for dogs derived from natural and organic ingredients are your best bet. Check our review of the best organic CBD oil for dogs. You can also ask your vet for recommendations.
Traditional Chemotherapy Treatment and Side Effects
Canine lymphoma is not a curable disease, although chemotherapy treatment can reduce symptoms and put cancer in remission. The lymphoma typically returns, but the treatments can extend your dog’s life from a few months to a few years. Dogs tolerate chemotherapy reasonably well, especially in the initial round. Combining chemotherapy with CBD oil can improve your pet’s quality of life and ease any treatment side effects.
Use CBD to ease disease and chemotherapy-related symptoms such as the following (usually for a few days after treatment):
- Diarrhea, vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- Extreme fatigue/lethargy and weakness
- Increased susceptibility to infection
- Rarely, whisker or fur loss/thinning
- Neuropathic pain after treatment
Your pet should start lymphoma treatment as soon as possible after a diagnosis. The success rate for remission is much higher for dogs treated in the earlier stages of the disease. If chemotherapy is not started until the later stages, the dog may never go into remission and might not have the strength to tolerate a complete round of chemotherapy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How much CBD should I give for lymphoma?
The amount of CBD to give your dog depends on your pet’s weight and symptom severity. Canine CBD products typically have information on the package or manufacturer’s website to determine the proper dose for your pet’s size and weight. Speak with your vet to get more information on proper dosing amounts and timing.
2. Does CBD help with lymphoma?
CBD can help improve the quality of your dog’s life by easing the symptoms of lymphoma and the side effects of chemotherapy treatments. Some studies show CBD helps slow cancer cell growth. However, CBD does not cure the disease, treat the actual symptoms, or put the dog into remission.
3. Can CBD shrink tumors in dogs?
Some evidence suggests CBD products can slow tumor cell growth and induce tumor cell death. However, lymphoma is spread throughout the lymphatic system rather than being localized in a tumor. CBD has not been shown to cure lymphoma, stop the progression, or cause remission of the disease.
4. What can I give my dog for lymphoma?
If you have received a diagnosis of lymphoma for your dog, you have a difficult decision. The disease progresses rapidly, so you must discuss chemotherapy options with your vet or do what you can to offer your pet the best quality of life as the disease progresses. Your vet will instruct you on the drug protocol that fits your dog’s treatment plan if that is the route you choose. In either scenario, you can give your dog CBD to ease symptoms related to the disease or the effects of chemotherapy treatment.