Can CBD Oil Help Dogs with Lymphoma?
CBD oil has been thought to help our canine friends with lymphoma and manage chemotherapy symptoms or side effects.
What is canine lymphoma? What are the symptoms of it? How is it typically treated? How can CBD help? We are going to answer all of these questions for you in this article.
Understanding Lymphoma in Dogs
Lymphoma is a group of cancers that affect the lymphatic system, as the name implies. This can be found in both canines and humans alike. The lymphatic system is an incredibly important network that is responsible for influencing the immune system and some other bodily functions.
It works to impact physiological processes and interacts with many parts of the body. Lymphoma is not as contained as some other cancers we are familiar with, and it spreads throughout the body relatively quickly.
Dogs diagnosed with untreated lymphoma typically have a life expectancy of 4-6 weeks after diagnosis. Lymphoma infiltrates organs until the organ has no choice but to fail. It begins like many other canine cancers as just a solitary tumor; however, because the lymphatic system’s function is to spread fluid throughout the body to various organs, it is not likely to be lonely for long. For dogs on a treatment plan, the life expectancy is more along the lines of a few months, anywhere between 6-12, depending on how they are being treated.
The Lymphatic System
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the infection-fighting cells of the immune system known as lymphocytes. Lymph nodes, the spleen, appendix, tonsils, lymph vessels, and lymph fluid are all key elements of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a part of your immune system and possesses many functions. The functions include maintaining body fluid levels, protecting you from harmful invaders, absorbing digestive tract fats, and removing cellular waste. Diseases and infections can affect the way it functions, preventing it from working properly.
The lymphatic system is a network of tubes found throughout the body. It is responsible for draining fluid, which is referred to as “lymph,” that has seeped out from blood vessels into your tissue, and it empties it back into the bloodstream through means of the lymph nodes.
Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell found in the immune system. Lymphocytes possess killer cells naturally, which are called T cells and B cells. These are the main types of cells found in the lymph fluid.
When a dog (or person) develops lymphoma, their lymphocytes transform into abnormal cancer cells, growing quickly and uncontrollably. This will cause a compromised immune system, and when these cells make their way throughout the dog’s lymphatic system, they force themselves into lymph nodes and cause swelling.
While there are different forms of canine lymphoma, the most common type of lymphoma in dogs is referred to as multicentric lymphoma, and it spreads rapidly. Lymphoma is typically found in middle-aged or senior dogs, and certain dog breeds are more prone to developing this cancer, possibly due to a genetic component.
Some dog breeds that have a higher risk of developing lymphoma include:
- Golden Retrievers
- Basset Hounds
- Scottish Terriers
- Saint Bernards
- Airedale Terriers
When it comes to lymphoma, there are typically four different types:
- Multicentric (systemic) lymphoma. The most common type of lymphoma in canines. Multicentric lymphoma accounts for around 80% of lymphoma cases in dogs. Lymph nodes throughout the body are affected by this type of cancer.
- Alimentary lymphoma. This type of lymphoma occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. This is coming in as a close second when it comes to common types of canine lymphoma.
- Mediastinal lymphoma. This form of lymphoma is rarer and affects the lymphoid organs found in the chest, such as the lymph nodes or the thymus.
- Extranodal lymphoma. This type of lymphoma is also very rare, but it does happen. It targets a specific organ that is not a part of the lymphatic system. It develops in areas like the skin, eyes, kidneys, lungs, or nervous system.
Like human cancers, canine lymphoma is broken into different stages to signify the degree to which it has spread throughout the body.
Canine lymphoma stages are as follows:
- Stage I – cancer is contained to one single lymph node in the dog’s body
- Stage II – cancer is contained to multiple lymph nodes on one side (either the top side or the bottom side of the dog)
- Stage III – cancer is only contained in the lymph nodes themselves but is found in various nodes in the dog’s body
- Stage IV – cancer is located in the dog’s spleen and liver, regardless of whether it started there or spread there
- Stage V – cancer is located in various parts of the body, or the bone marrow or central nervous system
Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs
Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly why lymphoma develops in our furry friends. There have been theories about viruses, bacteria, chemical exposure, and physical factors being possible reasons. Suppression of the immune system is a risk when it comes to lymphoma in humans, but the link between suppressed immunity and lymphoma in dogs has not yet been established. More research will have to be conducted for us to fully understand.
The most common and the first physical symptoms of canine lymphoma are firm, enlarged, swollen, non-painful lymph nodes. Lymph nodes affected by lymphoma often feel hard or rubbery beneath your dog’s skin. It’s easiest to locate the nodes near the neck or the mandibular lymph nodes. These are right under the jaw. Or you can locate the popliteal lymph nodes, the ones that reside behind the knee.
More symptoms include lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, swelling of the legs or face (also called edema), and sometimes even increased urination or thirst. If you notice your dog’s lymph nodes feel firm and rubbery and your dog has been displaying one or more of these symptoms, you may want to make an appointment with your vet to rule out lymphoma.
Symptoms of Cutaneous Lymphoma
One of the first signs of cutaneous lymphoma is dry, flaky, red, and itchy patches of skin located anywhere on the dog’s body. The skin will become moist, irritated, ulcerated, bright red, and thickened as the disease progresses. It can also be found in the mouth, affecting the lips, gums, and roof of the mouth.
Masses in the skin also occur in cutaneous lymphoma. This type of cancer has many times been treated as an allergy or infection before the diagnosis was made. If you find that your dog’s lymph nodes are hard and swollen, and your vet suggests it may be allergies or an infection, please keep this in mind. Cutaneous lymphoma of the mouth is also often mistaken for periodontal disease or gingivitis in the early stages. It may be worth getting a second opinion.
Symptoms of Alimentary Lymphoma
Dogs suffering from gastrointestinal lymphoma will often exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, frequent watery or loose stools, lethargy, and noticeable weight loss. Diarrhea will typically be darker in color and foul-smelling. Males have a higher predilection as opposed to females.
Symptoms of Mediastinal Lymphoma
Canines with mediastinal lymphoma usually have difficulty breathing due to a large mass within the chest and/or the accumulation of fluid inside the chest cavity. You may also notice your dog’s front legs or face is swollen or puffy-looking.
If you believe your dog may have some type of lymphoma, take them to a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible to be checked out. It’s important to realize that not all swollen lymph nodes immediately mean cancer. Similar to humans, infections can cause swollen lymph nodes. However, since canine lymphoma is serious, you’ll want to be safe and have it checked out.
While rubbery or hard lymph nodes are the biggest player in canine lymphoma, that doesn’t mean it will always be easy to see or feel them on your dog. Sometimes they will be in places that make it difficult to notice. If you don’t know if your dog has swollen lymph nodes, but they display some of the other warning signs we mentioned, take them to the vet anyways for a routine checkup.
CBD Oil for Lymphoma in Dogs: Can It Help?
Cannabidiol is pretty successful at managing and controlling symptoms of the disease and the negative side effects of the chemo. CBD has also been used as a health supplement for dogs even if they are not fighting diseases or cancer, as it promotes overall wellbeing in pets.
If your dog is having chemotherapy treatments, administering CBD oil to your dog’s tongue regularly may be able to promote a bit of an appetite and give them a mild boost in energy. This will help them maintain their energy levels while undergoing treatment.
CBD is a hemp-derived product; however, it is not intoxicating like THC. It will not get your dog high whatsoever; the most it will do is calm your dog down a little bit and make them feel a bit better if they are in pain.
CBD oil has been regarded as a natural pain reliever, so CBD oil may be a safe choice for helping them through the pain they experience either from the disease itself or the treatment plan. Forms of lymphoma that create a bit more inflammation in your dog’s body may be able to be managed by CBD due to its powerful and natural anti-inflammatory benefits.
Another positive about using CBD for dogs undergoing treatment for lymphoma is that the cannabidiol will effectively be able to calm them down and relax them, preventing them from getting wound up or anxious when they have to visit the vet.
Keep in mind that while CBD has been known to help control the unwanted side effects of canine lymphoma, it is not a treatment, cure, or prevention for this disease.
Using and Choosing a CBD Oil for Dogs
Administering CBD oil to your dog is relatively simple. You can usually find it in tincture form, treat form, or capsule form when it comes to canine products. Tinctures don’t always go over well with picky pups and capsules may be hard to hide away in a chunk of cheese. However, CBD-infused treats seem to be more tolerable to dogs, as the flavor is masked by other ingredients.
You can also create your own CBD dog treat by simply finding a porous treat that your dog loves, and letting the dose soak into the surface for a minute before giving it to your four-legged friend. So know that you know how to give your dog CBD, you’ll want to know how to choose the right product.
Pets are part of the family, so you are going to want to follow the same rules you’d follow if you were shopping for a CBD product for yourself.
Choosing the Form
Like we mentioned before, you’ll probably be choosing between tinctures, capsules, or CBD-infused treats. Tinctures are typically the best value, as in you get the most product for your money, it will last longer, you can easily choose and change doses, and it is the fastest-acting method.
If it stresses your dog out to try to get them to open up and take the dropper-full, capsules or treats should be considered as an option.
Quality, Ingredients, and Safety
Ingredients are important. Wouldn’t you want to know what exactly is in a product you are ingesting every day? Well, it’s up to you to do that for your dog because he can’t. Make sure the ingredients are safe and organic, the company is legit and trusted, and the products are lab tested.
Most products will state that they are “all-natural” because it appeals to consumers, but are they? This is why it is important to pay attention to the ingredient list and lab results.
Full-spectrum vs. Isolate
It’s also good to note the differences between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Cannabidiol in full-spectrum form is made from the entire hemp plant, containing nutrients, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, which all work together to maximize the user’s benefits.
CBD isolate may not work as effectively on its own, but it is a pure product. If you want CBD and nothing else, you’re going to want to go with a CBD isolate. Remember the difference when shopping for a CBD product for your dog.
CBD vs Traditional Treatments for Canine Lymphoma
Unfortunately, canine lymphoma is not curable. It can go into remission, similar to cancer in humans. Canine lymphoma often returns, and the treatments may be able to give your dog around an additional three years of life.
Chemotherapy is the normal option, sometimes with radiation and surgery used in conjunction with other forms of managing cancer. However, surgery is not the first choice due to the disease not wanting to stay in one spot. The goal behind canine lymphoma treatment is to help cancer go into remission and manage the dogs’ symptoms so that they can have a better quality of life. If cancer goes into remission, signs and symptoms are typically gone unless it returns.
Treatment should be executed soon after diagnosis. Some owners will put off chemotherapy because their dogs don’t seem “too sick” yet, and they fear the treatments will make them sick. However, treatment is much more successful when it is started when the dog is in the early stages, and his or her health has not begun diminishing yet. Remission may not be possible if you wait to start the treatment and allow your dog to progress further on into the disease.
Side Effects of Chemotherapy in Dogs
The side effects on dogs are not as brutal as they are on humans, however, your dog may or may not experience some side effects from the chemotherapy. Some of the side effects that may experience include:
- Neuropathic pain following the treatment
- Lethargy or fatigue for the days following the treatment
- Whisker loss
- Decreased appetite
- Thinning fur and fur loss (rare)
- Extreme tiredness, not wanting to get up or move
While there isn’t a treatment or cure for canine lymphoma, there are ways to potentially lessen the severity of your dogs’ symptoms to allow them to live a more comfortable, happy life while they are still with you. That is where CBD comes in. This may also be an option if your dog reacts poorly to the chemotherapy treatments, as your vet may be open to experimenting with this natural alternative.
Suppose your dog is facing any type of lymphoma and they are undergoing chemotherapy as a treatment. In that case, CBD may be able to help your dog feel a bit more comfortable and content during this difficult time.
While CBD comes from the hemp plant, it is non-psychoactive and will not get your dog intoxicated. Cannabidiol may be able to increase appetite, reduce physical pain, reduce inflammation in the body, and calm your dog down before their vet visits.
- Saba Omer, Dawn Boothe, Mohammedohammed Mansour, Muralikrishnan Dhanasekaran and Satyanarayana Pondugula, November 1, 2020 (1) (3 Supplement) PO-28 (1)
- Jeremy R. Johnson, Mary Burnell-Nugent, Dominique Lossignol, Elena Doina Ganae-Motan, Richard Potts, Marie T. Fallon, 2010, Pages 167-179 (2)
- Osvaldo Marinotti & Miles Sarill (2020) 17:5, 517-526 (3)
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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CBD Oil for Dogs with Lymphoma
Lymphoma can be a devastating disease and can go undetected until it’s too late. The availability of testing these days has made it more commonly diagnosed, but no one really knows where it comes from. In this article, we will discuss some things to do and how to recognize the signs your dog may have Lymphoma.
What is Lymphoma in dogs?
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells. This type of cancer typically invades systems responsible for the immune system such as lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow.
What happens to dogs that have Lymphoma?
Lymphoma cells can easily travel around the body looking for another organ to attack. There are many things that can be done to help slow down the spread of these cells or even make them decrease in numbers. Seeing your local veterinarian to help you with treatment options for your dog is always recommended. While not everyone can afford chemotherapy there are many different options on treatment you and your veterinarian can discuss. The goal is to prolong your dog’s life while still maintaining high-quality health and happiness.
What you should look for?
If you think that your dog has lymphoma, the first thing that you will see is swollen lymph nodes. These swellings are usually not painful to the touch. Your dog has external lymph nodes under his chin, mid neck, armpits, groin area, and behind his knees. If you notice any swelling in these locations, take your dog to a veterinarian to have them check for possible lymphoma or even a different type of cancer.
There are also lymph nodes inside the body. If you notice any gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea this can be a sign of GI lymphoma. Lymphoma of the lungs can cause difficulty breathing or coughing. Just because your pet may be showing any of these symptoms it is important not to jump to conclusions as there are many different reasons why they have occurred and usually cancer is not as common. Your dog’s veterinarian can certainly determine through testing what the issue may be.
What causes lymphoma
While the exact cause of lymphoma is unknown some people think that it can be due to bacteria, viruses, or some kind of chemical exposure. Evidence shows that Lymphoma does have a genetic component to it. There are certain breeds of dogs that are more prone to Lymphoma such as Boxers, Golden Retrievers. The possibility of these genes likely stems from overbreeding and inbreeding to try to maintain pure bloodlines.
What are treatments to dog Lymphoma?
Most dogs who have lymphoma will respond to chemotherapy. The lymphatic system circulates throughout the body thus making it impossible to just remove the one enlarged nodule as it can affect everything. On a positive note the fact that the lymphatic system is linked together throughout the entire body it responds well to treatments like chemotherapy. Just as cancer can move throughout the body so can the treatment which helps lessen or even stop the spread of cancer to other systems.
While most people who think of chemotherapy think of that person they know or what they have seen on TV of people who are sick all the time and losing their hair. Dogs do not have the same response to chemotherapy as people. Dogs are not given extremely high dosages of the medications as people get. Veterinarian’s goals are to prolong life with good quality. While sometimes a dog may get sick and feel lethargic most the time they actually seem to feel much better after treatment. Sometimes veterinarians will see vomiting or diarrhea with dogs undergoing chemotherapy and will prescribe medicine to help get them through these unfortunate side-effects. If a dog is sick on the day that they are scheduled for chemotherapy usually the veterinarian will skip that dosage or reschedule them for a later date when they feel much better. Again, the point is to make them feel better, not worse. The goal isn’t to cure cancer but to simply stop the spread of it and prolong the animal’s life.
What are alternatives that will also help
Many people look for other options to help their dog once they get a cancer diagnosis. There are many things that you can give your dog to help shrink the tumor or even help with the side effects of the disease or chemotherapy.
CBD or cannabidiol has recently shown to help pets fight disease such as cancer, skin problems, help with arthritis and increase appetite. CBD is derived from the hemp plant and contains little to no THC. THC is the psychotropic part of the plant. CBD would be a great supplement to give your dog even if they are not fighting cancer as it still promotes overall health benefits.
CBD oil for dog lymphoma
CBD is a great supplement to give to your dog who has lymphoma. If they are undergoing chemotherapy, CBD will help decrease nausea and make them want to eat a little more which will help keep their energy up thus making them feel better while undergoing treatment.
How to find the best CBD oil for dogs
When looking for CBD oil making sure that the products have been tested by a 3 rd party and ensure that they actually contain what they say they contain. The CBD oil that you purchase should say where the hemp is grown and how it is processed. Make sure that this is sourced by a reputable place and contains exactly what it should.
Find Relief with CBD Oil for Lymphoma in Dogs
No one wants to discover that their dog has lymphoma, the most common kind of cancer in dogs. Unfortunately, it is the reality for many pet owners. If you have already learned that your dog has lymphoma or fear that it does, read this blog post to learn about the disease and how CBD oil for Lymphoma in dogs may alleviate a lot of emotional and physical pain for your dog and you.
Understanding Lymphoma in Dogs
Lymphoma is a group of cancers that affect humans and dogs that can very simply be described as a cancer of the lymphatic system.
This is a vast and important system in the body that influences the immune system and other crucial bodily functions. Not only does it impact many bodily functions, and therefore interact with many parts of the body, the lymphatic system itself is very complex and dependent on its various parts for each basic function. The whole system and its point for existing depends on movement all over the body, so lymphoma is not as contained as we think of most cancers. It doesn’t start in one place with one tumor
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a drainage network involved with both the immune and circulatory system. It is made of up several parts, lymph nodes and other organs such as the spleen, appendix, and tonsils, lymph vessels, and lymph fluid. It’s all about the distribution and cleansing of that lymph fluid.
Lymph fluid is a watery substance that escapes from the circulatory system, and it is made of escaped material dogs need and waste materials. The lymph system picks it up and carries it where it needs to go, which takes it all over the body. If not for the lymph system, this fluid would build up in the body, causing swelling and the buildup of toxins.
While the lymphatic system moves lymph through the body, carrying the good where it needs to go, it also filters out bad things, like germs and toxins. White blood cells are in the lymphatic system, so that immune system action we hear about where white blood
Canine lymphoma is a broad term for more the than 30 different types of cancer that attack a dog’s lymphatic system. It is very similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people, so similar that the chemotherapy treatment is almost identical.
It begins like other cancers as a single tumor, but because the lymphatic system’s function is to spread fluid all over the body to various organs, it is not likely to stay that way for long.
There are many types of lymphoma, so they, thankfully, do not all spread at the same rate. Some are more contained. Unfortunately, the most common lymphoma in dogs is one that does spread rapidly, multicentric lymphoma.
Canine lymphoma is broken up into stages like human cancers. These are based on the degree to which it has spread through the body.
The World Health Organization has designated the lymphoma stages as follows:
- Stage I – cancer is contained in a single lymph node
- Stage II – cancer is contained in multiple lymph nodes on one side of the diaphragm (either the top or the bottom of the dog).
- Stage III – cancer is only contained in the lymph nodes themselves
- Stage IV – cancer is located in the liver and spleen or hepatosplenomegaly, whether it started there or spread there.
- Stage V – cancer is in the bone marrow, central nervous system,
Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs
The symptoms of canine lymphoma vary by the type of lymphoma, but there are many common symptoms to be on the lookout for.
The first and most common symptom of canine lymphoma is the presence of a swollen lymph node, or several. This will be a firm, rubbery lump underneath your dog’s skin. Thankfully, a swollen lymph node isn’t painful for the dog.
If you know where their lymph nodes are, you can recognize that it is these nodes that are swollen, and if you don’t already know where your dog’s lymph nodes are, you may want to learn and start getting accustomed to feeling for them while petting your dog. Should one or more of these be swollen, you need to get them to a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.
Take comfort in the fact that it is not guaranteed that a swollen lymph node means cancer. Like with humans, a simple infection can cause it, but because canine lymphoma is so serious, you should waste no time getting it checked out.
While swollen lymph nodes are the most common symptom, they are not always present or easy to feel. Some lymph nodes are located in places where they may be hard to notice. Your vet may notice them during a routine checkup. You can also take the added precaution of making yourself aware of the other common symptoms of canine lymphoma.
Other common symptoms of lymphoma in dogs:
Because there are so many kinds of lymphoma, some of them have very different symptoms.
Cutaneous lymphoma affects their skin, appearing as dry, red, flaky patches that can spread all over their body. It may be accompanied by masses under the skin. This one is a slower-growing lymphoma.
Gastrointestinal lymphoma affects their digestive system, and its symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, foul-smelling excrement, and rapid weight loss.
Traditional Treatments for Canine Lymphoma
Canine lymphoma is not a curable disease. It can go into remission, but that means it is also likely to return. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, the median time before lymphoma returns is 6 to 12 months. In 20 to 25% of cases, dogs live 2 years or longer after the cancer has gone into remission, and even if it returns and they undergo a second treatment, they still have a median survival rate of 336 days. That means canine lymphoma treatments may give your dog an additional 3 years of life, or more.
Surgery is not the primary treatment because of the traveling nature of the disease. Chemotherapy is the most common option, with radiation and surgery being used in conjunction sometimes when it is beneficial to treat a mass or specific area.
Veterinarians treat the dog to hopefully make the cancer go into remission or to manage their symptoms so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. If the cancer goes into remission, there will be no detectable signs of the disease and the dog will suffer no more symptoms unless the cancer returns.
It is important to start the treatment as soon as possible. Many pet owners are tempted to put off the chemotherapy because their dog does not act sick yet and they fear the treatments will make them sicker than they have to be, but the treatment is much more effective when begun while the dog is in a healthier state. The cancer has a great likelihood of going into remission, whereas, if you put the treatment off until the dog is suffering, remission may no longer be possible.
IVG hospitals reports that “remission is achieved in 80-90% of dogs and typically lasts 6-9 months. The length of remission depends upon many factors including the primary site of the cancer, how sick an animal is at the start of treatment and the extent of disease.”
Side Effects of Chemotherapy in Dogs
Thankfully, chemotherapy is not as hard on dogs as it is on humans. It is possible that they may not suffer any negative side effects at all.
If your dog does suffer negative side effects of chemotherapy, they may be: