CBD oil has several anti-cancer properties for cats – from inhibiting the tumor growth and alleviating the cancer symptoms to enhancing the efficacy of conventional treatments and managing their side effects.
Keep reading to learn more about the science behind CBD oil for cats with cancer.
CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
The benefits of CBD for pets are linked with its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The endocannabinoid system regulates various bodily functions whose end goal is maintaining a state of health and balance.
Cannabidiol binds with the cannabinoid receptors, thus boosting the endocannabinoid system and promoting homeostasis.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
CBD Might Help Eliminate Cancer Cells
A study of skin cancer in mice showed that both healthy and cancerous cells have endocannabinoid receptors, and targeting those receptors with CBD can trigger cell death.
This agrees with other research results demonstrating the CBD’s ability to destroy cancerous cells. In fact, a breast cancer study showed that CBD could induce apoptosis (programmed death) of cancerous cells without damaging the healthy cells.
CBD Can Help Stop Tumor Growth
Interestingly, studies show that CBD oil can inhibit angiogenesis (the process allowing cancerous cells to grow and spread by creating new blood vessels).
CBD Can Help Mitigate Pain Associated with Treatment
Pain is a common companion of cancer. It can stem from cancer itself or its treatment. In both cases, pain decreases the quality of life and delays healing.
CBD can Alleviate Nausea and Vomiting
Handling the side effects of anti-cancer treatment can be just as challenging as handling cancer itself. The two most common side effects are nausea and appetite loss, and CBD can help with both.
CBD May Reduce Inflammation
In addition to pain, another common companion of cancer is inflammation. Because of its ability to manage inflammation, CBD oil is popularly termed a “novel anti-inflammatory drug.”
What is more, CBD boosts the potency of traditional anti-inflammation medications and modulates the immune system ensuring a correct immune response and consequently a more manageable inflammatory response.
Possible Side Effects of CBD in Cats
As cat owners, you need to be aware that every drug, treatment, and supplement can cause side effects.
Luckily, when it comes to CBD, these effects are not likely to occur in all cats and what is more, their intensity and frequency can be successfully decreased through adequate CBD dosage modification.
According to a recent study, the two most commonly observed side effects of CBD oil in cats are increased lip-licking rate and head shaking.
Here is a short overview of the side effects you can expect after starting your cat on CBD oil for seizures.
Dry mouth: CBD can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva. This typically presents itself as increased thirst and pronounced lip licking. Make sure your cat’s water bowl is always filled with clean water. Also, keep in mind that increased thirst results in more frequent trips to the littler box.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea is an expected side effect when introducing any new supplement or food to your cat’s menu. The real culprit is not the CBD itself but the carrier oil (usually MCT coconut oil) used in the product. The best way of avoiding diarrhea is introducing the CBD oil slowly and on a full belly.
Vomiting: CBD oil has a pronounced bitter taste. Considering most cats are finicky eaters, they may find the taste so repulsive they would actually choose to vomit. If your pet cannot handle the CBD oil’s bitter taste, try a flavored product or mix the oil with your cat’s regular meal.
Lowered Blood Pressure: CBD may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. The drop itself is small, but it can create a transient feeling of lightheadedness, drowsiness, lethargy, and nausea in your cat. Allowing your cat to take a nap will help to manage this side effect.
Delayed Medication Breakdown: CBD can interfere with the production of certain liver enzymes. Considering many over-the-counter and prescription medications are metabolized in the liver, it is safe to assume that CBD can interact with these meds and delay their breakdown.
Using CBD Oil for Cats in a Cancer Treatment Plan
Officially, cancer treatment is based on three approaches: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Using CBD oil for cats with cancer is not an officially approved treatment of choice, but it is associated with health benefits.
Consulting with Your Vet
Before adding CBD oil products to your cat’s cancer management strategy, consult with your trusted veterinarian. The vet will explain whether CBD products are compatible with your cat’s current cancer treatment and explain what to expect regarding benefits and adverse effects.
Finding the Right CBD Oil Dosage
Generally, the recommended CBD amount for cats is between 1 and 5 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight per day. However, the exact CBD dose depends on your cat’s weight, age, and co-existing health issues.
Managing Your Expectations
There are no conclusive studies that CBD oil can treat cancer per se. However, studies are supporting the claim that the use of CBD oil benefits cancer patients. CBD oil can help with:
- Nausea and vomiting – radiation and chemotherapy are frequently accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Cannabidiol manages these side effects and increases appetite, thus improving the cat’s overall health.
- Chronic pain – pain management is vital when dealing with cancer patients. This is because pain decreases the overall quality of life and delays healing processes in the body.
- Inflammation – cannabidiol has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which are particularly useful for cats with certain cancer types.
How to Use CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
Everything starts with choosing the best cat CBD oil. Make sure you always use full-spectrum CBD oil for your cat. Full-spectrum versions are the best option as they are rich not only in cannabidiol compounds but also in terpenes, flavonoids, and essential fatty acids.
CBD oil contains various cannabidiol compounds (the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant). CBD oils for cats must contain less than 0.3 THC, which is why they are made exclusively from hemp plants, as hemp plants are rich in CBDs and low in THC, while the marijuana plant is low in CBDs and high in THC.
When choosing the right product, check the manufacturer’s credibility. A reputable CBD manufacturer will have its products tested through a third-party lab and the analysis results displayed on its official website.
How to Administer CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
As pet owners, you can choose between using CBD oil and CBD cat treats. The CBD oil is served during mealtime, applied sublingually (under the cat’s tongue), or rubbed into the gums.
Considering the cat’s delicate palate, the administration of CBD tinctures may not be as simple as it sounds. Luckily, for finicky-eater cats, there is a possibility of administering CBD oil via CBD cat treats.
Finally, there are CBD capsules, but giving cats pills is a challenging task, so it would be much simpler to try oils and treats first.
When to Expect Results of CBD
CBD oil reaches effect in about an hour post-administration, and its effects last for 4 to 6 hours. However, these numbers are not set in stone.
The CBD oil’s efficacy depends on many factors, including your cat’s overall health, chemistry, activity level, and of course, the form in which the CBD oil was administered (oil, cat treats, capsules).
Types of Cancer in Cats
According to the ACF (American Cancer Foundation), one in five cats will develop some type of cancer at a certain point in its life. Just like in humans and dogs, in cats, certain types of cancer are more common.
The cat’s age and exposure to carcinogens (tobacco smoke, asbestos, pesticides, x-rays, benzene, food additives) are important factors in developing feline cancers.
Lymphoma in Cats
Lymphoma is the most common type of feline cancer. Lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects the white blood cells and lymphoid tissue (scattered within different parts of the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, liver, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract).
The Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are associated with increased risks of developing lymphoma.
Based on the location, there are several different lymphoma types. Digestive tract lymphoma is the most prevalent type.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) in Cats
Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that generally develops on exposed skin areas (ears, nose, and eyelids) and in cats living in sunny climates. This form is known as solar-induced SCC, and its development is linked with exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma is another widespread type of feline cancer. In fact, oral SCC accounts for over 10% of all cat tumors. Oral SCCs affect the soft tissues within the mouth.
Fibrosarcoma in Cats
Fibrosarcoma is an aggressive type of tumor that arises from the connective fibrous tissue. Because it usually develops at injection sites, it is popularly known as feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS).
FISS is associated with different injections, including vaccines, antibiotics, insulin, corticosteroids, and subcutaneous fluids. The amount or injection dosage also affects the frequency of FISS occurrence.
When it comes to FISS, genetics is a significant risk factor.
Mammary Tumors (Breast Cancer) in Cats
Unlike dogs that usually develop benign mammary tumors, almost 90% of the mammary tumors are malignant in cats.
The fact that they are malignant means that the breast cancer cells can spread to other organs and tissues, primarily the lungs and local lymph nodes.
The remaining 10% that are benign do not have spreading abilities. In such cases, the breast cancer cells grow only locally.
Symptoms of Cancer in Cats
Cancer is a truly insidious disease. This is because some cancer symptoms are subtle, and others are non-specific, which means other conditions can cause them. Additionally, cats are notorious for hiding the signs and symptoms of their ailments.
Because of that, by the time the symptoms of cancer become apparent, the cancer is already in its advanced stages. The cancer’s advanced stage has a negative impact on the treatment outcome. For that reason, early diagnosis can be life-saving.
As a cat owner, you need to monitor your cat closely and make sure your trusted vet examines your cat at least twice per year. If there is anything unusual going on, you need to alert your vet as soon as possible.
Although not specific, the following signs and symptoms can be considered as cancer warnings:
- Emergence of new lumps and bumps
- Weight loss
- Appetite fluctuations (ravenous appetite to a loss of appetite)
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Difficulty urinating and/or defecating
- Changes in the mouth (excessive drooling, bleeding, foul breath, difficulty swallowing, gum discolorations)
- Discharge (from the nose and/or eyes)
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent sores and delayed wound healing
- Lameness and/or stiffness
- Lethargy and loss of stamina
- Dehydration or excessive thirst
If your cat exhibits one or more of the above-listed signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with your trusted vet.
It goes without saying that different cancer types have different clinical manifestations. Additionally, the severity of the symptoms of cancer can vary significantly between different cats.
How Long do Cats Live After Being Diagnosed with Cancer?
Cats usually develop malignant types of tumors. The malignant nature combined with the cat’s reluctance to exhibit any early cancer symptoms results in a guarded to poor prognosis for cats with cancer.
Without treatment, the average survival time for cats with cancer is two months. Depending on the tumor type and the promptness and aggressiveness of the treatment, the survival period can be increased up to 12 months.
Our Final Thoughts: CBD Oil for Cats with Cancer
Unlike dogs and humans, in which cancer is a frequent diagnosis, cats are less susceptible to carcinogens and cancerous cell changes. In fact, compared to dogs, cats are 50% less likely to develop cancer. However, they are more likely to develop malignant tumor types.
CBD products are an important part of the multimodal treatment approach most cancers require. Fortunately, with so many different CBD products for cats, today, it is easier than ever to add this supplement to your cat’s menu and enjoy its beneficial effects.