Canine lymphoma affects between 13 and 114 dogs per 100,000 annually and accounts for up to 24% of all canine neoplasias in the United States. In this article, we will talk about cannabis for dogs with lymphoma.
Keep reading as we will describe everything you need to know about lymphoma and CBD oil – the uses, the benefits, the considerations, and the side effects. We will also help you choose the best CBD oil for dog lymphoma.
Does CBD Work for Dog Lymphoma?
Yes, CBD works for dogs with lymphoma by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a signaling and regulatory system responsible for managing body processes like immunity, inflammation, metabolism, appetite, sleep, mood, memory, etc.
The endocannabinoid system consists of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. CBD replaces the endocannabinoids and binds with the receptors, thus supporting and boosting the ECS.
How to Use CBD Oil for Lymphoma in Dogs
One of the best things about CBD oil is the ease of use. CBD supplements are available in different forms allowing pet owners to choose which administration method works best. Here are the different ways you can use CBD oil for lymphoma in dogs:
- Sublingual application of CBD oil. CBD can be administered sublingually by drawing the oil into the dropper and squirting it directly into the dog’s mouth, near the back.
- CBD oil during mealtime. Alternatively, you can squirt the oil from the dropper into the food bowl and mix it with the regular food.
- CBD oil dropped on a dog treat. You can drop the CBD oil onto a porous dog treat and then give it to your dog.
- CBD infused edibles. There are commercially available, dog-friendly-flavored CBD edibles for pets like chews, bites, and peanut butter.
- Homemade CBD infused treats. It is possible to bake homemade dog treats infused with CBD oil as long as you are careful not to destroy the oil’s cannabinoids.
Does CBD oil Cure Lymphoma in Dogs?
No, on its own, CBD cannot cure canine lymphoma. However, it is an excellent complementary therapy for dogs with lymphoma. In fact, when dealing with canine cancer patients, the veterinary oncologist is likely to “recommend a combination of therapies.”
Simply put, when used as part of the multimodal treatment plan, CBD can improve the dog’s quality of life due to its ability to:
- Fight the tumor itself and prevent spreading
- Manage the symptoms of lymphoma
- Alleviate the traditional treatment’s side effects
CBD Oil for Lymphoma in Dogs
There are over 30 different types of lymphoma in dogs, but extranodal, mediastinal, alimentary, and multicentric are most frequently diagnosed. Each type has different symptoms, levels of aggressiveness, and survival rates.
CBD for Extranodal Lymphoma. Extranodal lymphoma affects organs outside the lymphatic system like the eyes, lungs, kidneys, skin, nervous system, bones, etc.
Extranodal lymphoma results in different symptoms based on the affected organs and systems. Namely, cutaneous lymphoma causes dry, flaky skin and small skin lumps; bone lymphoma is painful and increases the risk of fractures; nervous system lymphoma triggers seizures and neural deficits.
CBD oil can help in various ways depending on the lymphoma’s initial target. For example, in dogs with bone lymphoma, it provides pain relief. At the same time, the anti-epileptic features can help decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures in dogs with nervous system lymphoma.
CBD for Mediastinal Lymphoma. Mediastinal lymphoma develops on the lymphoid organs within the chest cavity – thymus and lymph nodes and is a relatively rare form.
The tumor formation in the chest leads or the follow-up fluid accumulation put pressure on the lungs, thus causing impaired breathing. Mediastinal lymphoma also manifests with non-specific signs like fluid buildup in the face and front legs and increased water intake and urination frequency.
CBD oil can help with breathing difficulties because it has been shown to improve lung function and manage inflammation.
CBD for Alimentary Lymphoma. As the name suggests, alimentary lymphoma affects the gastrointestinal tract and accounts for around 5% of all lymphoma cases in dogs.
Alimentary lymphoma targets the intestines, thus triggering symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss or anorexia, increased or decreased thirst, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Alimentary lymphoma impairs the normal nutrient absorption and can be fatal if located within proximity of the small or large intestine.
CBD for Multicentric Lymphoma. Multicentric lymphoma affects the lymph nodes and is the most common type of canine lymphoma (responsible for 80-85% of the cases). This type of cancer is fast progressing, but it usually responds well to aggressive chemotherapy.
Since the tumor starts growing within the lymph nodes, one of the first signs will be enlarged or swollen lymph nodes. Multicentric lymphoma also causes symptoms like swellings, fever, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, and dehydration.
The Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs With Lymphoma
The use of CBD oil for dogs with cancer is relatively new. However, both scientifically backed up and anecdotal evidence show the benefits of CBD oil for dogs with lymphoma.
CBD oil is a natural immune system booster – it strengthens the immune response and reduces oxidative stress, thus fighting off foreign pathogens. It also supports the immune system by promoting a healthy gut. These features are important for preventing lymphoma in the first place.
Additionally, CBD can inhibit the multiplication of cancerous cells and prevent tumor spreading. Finally, according to a study, CBD can “reduce tumor growth,” thus showing cancer-shrinking properties.
As already explained, CBD oil can also manage some of the lymphoma symptoms and the side effects of traditional anti-cancer treatments.
How CBD Compares to Traditional Dog Lymphoma Treatments
The treatment of choice for dogs with lymphoma is chemotherapy. Although dogs tolerate chemotherapy better than humans, the treatment is still toxic and associated with several complications.
The most commonly reported side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Plus, dogs subdued to chemotherapy are very likely to relapse because the cancerous cells become resistant to the treatment over time.
Other lymphoma treatment options include radiation therapy, antibody therapy, immunotherapy, bone marrow, and stem cell transplants. However, each approach has its cons – radiation therapy is not always applicable, antibody therapy does not replace chemotherapy, immunotherapy is still a novel concept, and bone marrow and stem cell transplants are cost-prohibitive and not universally successful.
On the other hand, CBD oil is a 100% natural and safe option with rare, benign, and transient side effects like lowered blood pressure, dry mouth, and drowsiness. Plus, CBD oil is non-addictive and prolonged use does not result in resistance buildup. Last but not least, CBD can boost the effects of immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and potentially chemotherapy.
Dog Lymphoma: Signs & Symptoms
There are different types of cancer in dogs like bone cancer, melanoma, hemangiosarcoma, mammary cancer, and mast cell tumors. However, lymphoma is the most common type.
Lymphoma is an umbrella term that includes different cancer forms affecting the lymphocytes (infection-fighting white blood cells) and lymphatic organs (spleen, tonsils, thymus, appendix).
Lymphoma is more common in middle-aged and senior dogs, and it affects both large dogs and small dogs. The exact cause is unknown, but exposure to bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and strong magnetic fields is considered a risk factor.
The telltale sign of lymphoma is lymph node enlargement. The nodes become swollen with a firm but rubbery consistency. However, there are two caveats:
- A swollen lymph node is not always indicative of lymphoma (it can be due to infection).
- Not all lymph nodes are superficial, meaning they are not always easy to palpate.
The exact clinical manifestation of canine lymphoma depends on the cancer type. However, there are several non-specific signs and symptoms like:
- Loss of appetite
- Edema (face and legs)
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination frequency
- Weight loss
CBD Oil Dosage For Dogs With Lymphoma
There is no vet-approved rule when it comes to CBD dosage. The general rule of thumb is that dogs can receive between 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight a day.
However, determining how much CBD oil your dog needs will probably take some experimentation. Luckily, dogs cannot overdose on CBD, meaning you can freely modify the CBD dosage based on the situation.
It is advisable to start with smaller doses and gradually increase the amount of CBD oil. That way, you will give your dog’s body time to adjust to the new supplement and avoid side effects like drowsiness and diarrhea.
How to Shop for the Best CBD Oil for Dog Lymphoma
In the pet CBD industry, the labels can be dubious or confusing and the claims wildly exaggerated. Therefore, shopping for the best dog CBD oil can be tricky. To ensure high product quality, you need to follow these buying tips:
- Full-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum hemp is more potent than broad-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolates since it contains various cannabinoids and additional compounds (flavonoids, terpenes, omega fatty acids) with an entourage effect.
- Hemp-derived CBD oil. Pet CBD oil formulas are made from hemp and not marijuana because marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is extremely toxic to pets. Hemp CBD oil is THC-free (contains less than 0.3% THC).
- Hemp oil vs. hemp seed oil. Hemp oil is a whole hemp plant (leaves, flowers, and stalks) extract, while hemp seed oil is made solely from the seeds and does not contain cannabinoids.
- CO2 extraction. There are different extraction methods but using supercritical carbon dioxide ensures a pure CBD oil product. The CO2 extraction eliminates the questionable chemicals while retaining all health-boosting cannabinoids.
- Organic hemp. The best pet CBD product is made from organic hemp because commercially grown plants are heavily treated with chemicals. The CBD oil should also be free from GMO, allergen, and filler ingredients.
- Certificate of Analysis. A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a third-party lab-provided document confirming the accuracy of the product’s label, its chemical makeup, and exclusion of pesticides, heavy metals, microbes, and other contaminants.
- Reputable brand. Choose a trustworthy CBD brand that has a right-standing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a good rating on Better Business Bureau, and excellent customer reviews.
Our Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Canine Lymphoma
CBD oil is not a cure for canine lymphoma, but when used as part of a multimodal treatment plan, it can improve the dog’s quality of life and increase its survival time. However, you need to get a high-quality CBD oil for your dog. We rate Honest Paws as the best CBD oil for dogs with lymphoma.
Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea-like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5-HT(1A) somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus – PubMed (nih.gov)
Crosstalk between the gut microbiota and the endocannabinoid system: impact on the gut barrier function and the adipose tissue – Cani – 2012 – Clinical Microbiology and Infection – Wiley Online Library
The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and mitogen‐activated protein kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis – Henry – 2021 – Veterinary and Comparative Oncology – Wiley Online Library