Arthritis can be defined as the inflammation of the joints, as dogs age cartilage found between bones wears off due to a decrease in production of glucosamine which stimulates growth of chondrocytes (cells that produce cartilage), this results in continuous wear and tear of the cartilage.
Bones in turn rub against each causing a lot of discomfort and further damage to the cartilage, new bone growth forms around the affected bones resulting in joint stiffness, arthritic dogs also have a tendency to gain weight due to restricted movement, this may predispose them further to heart disease and diabetes and worsen the arthritis due to increased pressure on the joints.
Other common symptoms include:
- joint pain and stiffness,
- joint swelling,
- slow gait
- difficulty rising up from rest,
- Difficulty using stairs
- Reduced appetite
Arthritis is incurable, progressive and irreversible. Illness management is geared towards relieving the above symptoms as well as improving the quality of life of affected dogs either using steroids and food supplements e.g. glucosamine and chondroitin, holistic treatments have also become popular overtime in the management arthritis.
Cannabinoiol (CBD) oil is among the many compounds present in cannabis or hemp plant, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system which has receptors throughout the body, this system helps in mediating various processes in the body when stimulated.
CBD oil is not psychoactive or toxic and has minimal side effects, research shows that it contains natural anti inflammatory properties and is a potent pain reliever, it is used in the treatment of various diseases such as arthritis which is associated with chronic pain and joint swelling, it regulates production of hormones called prostaglandins which mediate pain and inflammation, it also helps reduce production of cytokines which are chemical signals used to illicit inflammatory reactions.
CBD oil is also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect tissue cells from injury which would further illicit an inflammatory reaction.
Cannabinoiols are also effective in controlling production of Th 17 cells which have been linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, it helps boost appetite in arthritic dogs giving them energy to walk around and also during exercise.
CBD oil can be administered orally either directly in the mouth or through food, two to four drops of oil given 2-4 times daily is recommended. It is tolerable with no risk of overdosing. It has no adverse effects on the liver, kidneys or the heart compared to long term use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Improvement is usually noticeable after a few days of use. It can also be given concurrently with food supplements and prescription drugs.
Few side effects have been reported following use CBD oil, these include
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Dry mouth seen as increased thirst in dogs
- Drop in blood pressure
- High doses can inhibit liver enzymes useful for drug metabolism. It is therefore safe to consult with a veterinarian on the recommended dose as per the dog’s weight.