Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a prevalent metabolic condition in domesticated cats. Even though the disease is common among felines, a single best treatment has not been developed. Some vets recommend medication, others nutritional changes, and some alternative approaches.
In this article, we will talk about CBD oil for cats with kidney disease. Studies show that CBD can help with several kidney disease symptoms, including nausea, pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Keep reading to learn how to get the best out of CBD oil for your cat.
Does CBD Oil Help Kidney Disease in Cats?
Yes, CBD oil can help cats with kidney disease simply because of its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). To make things simpler, let’s start by explaining two important terms – CBD and ECS.
CBD or cannabidiol is a compound extracted from the hemp variant of the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids have strong medicinal properties and have been used for its health-boosting effects for years.
The ECS is present in all mammals and is composed of endocannabinoids – a group of neurotransmitters that affect many biological processes. Some of the biological processes influenced by the ECS include mood, fertility, pain, anxiety, appetite, inflammation, metabolism, memory, and general health and well-being.
The system also contains receptors to which the endocannabinoids attach. Receptors are points in the body to which a chemical such as CBD attaches to exert its effects. Of all the different types of receptors in the system, two have been studied extensively – CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD replaces the body’s endocannabinoids and binds with the ECS receptors. By acting on these receptors, CBD may be able to relieve signs and symptoms of kidney disease in cats.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Cat’s Kidneys?
Yes, CBD is generally safe for both humans and pets when used following the manufacturer’s recommendations. In fact, not only is CBD safe for consumption, but it may also provide health benefits.
According to the World Health Organization report on cannabidiol, “CBD is generally well-tolerated, with a good safety profile,” and in a study from the Colorado State University, it is stated that “CBD is a well-tolerated supplement.”
How CBD Oil Works to Help Cats with Kidney Disease
Even though the research on CBD is still in its infancy, anecdotal experiences by cat owners have demonstrated that CBD oil may positively impact the progression of kidney disease in cats.
Many cat owners have reported that CBD oil was instrumental in relieving cats of kidney disease symptoms such as vomiting, lack of appetite, pain, and anxiety. Let’s take a look at the different kidney disease aspects CBD can help with.
Loss of appetite: CBD oil could help improve appetite in cats with kidney disease since the system that regulates hunger in the body is affected by the ECS. CBD oil also affects sensory perception, in other words, how food tastes to your cat. Plus, CBD’s anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects support a healthy appetite.
Anxiety and Mood: One of the proposed ways in which CBD may reduce anxiety is through acting on a serotonin receptor known as the 5-HT-1 receptor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter whose role in mood and cognitive function is well-documented. By acting on the same receptor as serotonin, CBD may help alleviate anxiety and improve mood in cats.
Immunity: The research on CBD and immunity is not as concrete as that on its role in anxiety. However, it is suggested that CBD may support immune function by activating enzymes in disease-fighting cells such as macrophages.
Pain: This is another up-and-coming area of CBD oil. CBD may help reduce pain through suppression of nerve activity in areas of pain. CBD has been shown to have promising pain-relieving effects.
Inflammation: CBD has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is an important component of kidney disease. Because of their ability to manage inflammatory processes, studies often refer to cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Kidney Disease Treatments for Cats
How effective CBD is in comparison to other treatments will depend on the individual cat. It is difficult to say which therapy is best because different cats respond differently to a treatment. Besides, in the veterinary medicine field, many therapies are combined to give the best result.
However, CBD has the advantage of being non-invasive and easier to administer compared to other interventions like surgery and injectable drugs. Plus, it is a 100% natural option with minimal and benign side effects.
For better results, CBD is frequently paired with dietary changes. Studies show that cats with kidney disease can benefit from adequate intake of fluids and diets low in protein, sodium, and phosphorus and rich in essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Creating a Holistic Treatment Plan for Your Cat with Kidney Disease
To increase the odds of success of your cat’s treatment, it is best to create a treatment plan to follow. Your veterinarian will help you decide what treatment plan is best for you and your cat.
Talk to Your Vet
The first step to starting any new form of treatment for your cat is to speak to your vet. Your veterinarian should be able to give you guidance on how to proceed with the treatment plan.
Based on your cat’s unique situation and needs, the vet will guide you on the different aspects of CBD therapy, such as brand, dosage, and method of administration.
CBD Oil Dosage for Cats with Kidney Disease
Since CBD is not a certified treatment for kidney disease, there are no official dosages for effective treatment. The CBD product you choose will most likely have instructions on what dosage is best for your cat. If so, follow package instructions.
The general rule is to give your cat between 1 and 5 mg of CBD oil per 10 pounds a day. For example, for our CBD oils at Honest Paws, the recommended dosage for a cat is 1 dropper a day, from a 125mg potency, which translates to 4mg of CBD a day.
If the CBD does not provide instructions on the dosage, ask your vet to recommend how much CBD to administer.
How to Administer CBD Oil for Cats with Kidney Disease
Like most forms of medication, CBD oil is best administered in small regular doses. Again, your CBD product of choice should have directions on how to administer CBD but if there are none, consult your vet. Most products recommend giving CBD every 8 to 24 hours.
The method of administration will depend on what form the CBD is in. If you are to use oil, adding it to cat treats is one of the most effective ways to administer it.
This method may be a challenge if your cat is vomiting. To remedy this, you can also use a dropper to administer the oil under the tongue.
CBD Oil Side Effects and Considerations for Cats with Kidney Disease
While CBD oil is generally safe for cats, some extra sensitive kitties may experience negative effects after the initial implementation. Some of these side effects include:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Dry mouth and lip licking
- Dizziness and nausea
- Increased agitation
- Decreased paw-to-eye coordination
If your cat experiences any negative reactions to CBD oil, pause the treatment and consult your veterinarian on how to proceed. Pet owners should also talk to their vets before adding CBD to the menu, as CBD may interact with certain prescription medications.
How to Choose the Best CBD Products for Cats
Not all CBD products are created equal. To ensure the safety of your cat, choose CBD products from a reputable brand. Here are some important checkboxes for successful CBD shopping:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil will achieve a more potent effect than CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD oil because, in addition to cannabinoids, it also contains terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, and fatty acids which act synergistically with the CBDs.
- Pet CBD oil must be THC-free as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is toxic to dogs. Therefore, it needs to be derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, and not medical marijuana, which is high in THC.
- Hemp CBD oil vs. hemp seed oil. Hemp oil is made from the whole hemp plant – flowers, leaves, and stalks. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds and is healthy, especially for the skin and coat but does not contain cannabinoids.
- Organically grown hemp is the best option for a high-quality and pesticide-free dog CBD oil. All components need to be organic, including the carrier oil (hemp seed or coconut oil). The oil must also be GMO, corn, dairy, soy, and gluten-free as these filler and allergen ingredients are of questionable quality and potentially harmful for pets.
- CBD oil extracted with CO2 as this method is superior to techniques using solvents, and it ensures higher preservation of the cannabinoids while eliminating impurities – contaminants, heavy metals, and bacteria.
- Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a document provided by a third-party lab confirming the oil contents – proving its purity, detailed inclusion of different cannabinoids, and exclusion (or low percentage) of THC. A reputable brand will have its COA available on the webpage.
What is Kidney Disease in Cats and What Causes it?
Kidney disease (also known as kidney failure) is a term used to describe a condition in which the normal functioning of the kidneys is compromised.
Kidneys play several important functions in the body, including balancing electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, maintaining hydration levels, removing wastes like urea and creatinine, and synthesizing hormones and red blood cells. In the event of kidney failure in a cat, some or all of these functions are compromised.
There are two main types of kidney disease classified according to how long the kidney disease takes to develop in the cat:
- Acute Kidney Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Acute kidney disease develops in a relatively short period of time. It may take days or weeks to develop. This type of kidney disease can occur in cats of all ages and is usually onset by a sudden event.
Some of the causes of acute kidney disease include poisoning, physical injury to the kidneys, and severe dehydration. Acute kidney disease is often easier to treat if discovered in time.
Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, develops over long periods of time, is more common in older cats, and is usually more difficult to treat. The cause of chronic kidney disease is hard to determine since it develops over a long period.
The goal in the treatment of chronic kidney disease is to treat the signs and symptoms since the disease itself is difficult to cure. Some of the common causes of chronic kidney disease in cats include high blood pressure, kidney infections, and poor nutrition.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Cats
These are some of the most common clinical signs and symptoms of kidney disease in cats:
- Frequent urination. Given that urine production is the primary role of kidneys, urine production is likely to be compromised when the kidneys fail.
- Increased thirst. This is a result of increased water loss that results from increased urination.
- Weight loss. Like any disease, kidney failure may cause appetite loss, resulting in a reduction in body weight if not remedied.
- Vomiting. Your cat may start vomiting, especially after meals. This can also result in weight loss in the long run.
- Change in sleeping pattern. Kidney disease will cause a decrease in energy levels which may cause your cat to sleep for longer hours.
- Lethargy. Cats with kidney disease, especially in the later stages, tend to become weaker. You may notice a reduced interest in playing and an increase in downtime.
- Bloody urine. If kidney disease is left untreated or progresses to more advanced stages, it may cause wounds in the urinary tract. These wounds may start to bleed, causing blood spots in urine.
- Enlarged and tender abdomen. Disease or injury to the kidneys may strain them, causing them to swell. This swelling is usually painful on compression.
- Frequent bacterial infections. As the kidneys weaken, the urine tract becomes more prone to attacks from bacteria and other pathogens, resulting in increased frequency and severity of infections.
Our Final Thoughts on Cats with Kidney Disease
Currently, there is no known cure for kidney disease, particularly chronic kidney disease. However, some treatments can ease the signs and symptoms of the disease. Some of the therapies your vet might recommend for your cat include a kidney diet, fluid therapy, and CBD supplements.
Several studies and anecdotal reports show that CBD may be able to alleviate signs and symptoms of kidney disease and improve the cat’s quality of life. Plus, CBD is relatively harmless to try, and the potential benefits are completely worth the effort.