Intervertebral Disc Disease is a condition where the spinal discs between the vertebrae of the spine degenerate. Learn more about this condition and what CBD oil can do for your dog! IVDD is very common in older dogs today. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) can be very painful for our pets. Luckily, there is CBD to help!
CBD for IVDD in Dogs – Does It Work?
Friends, family, and patients with dogs come to us for solutions to their families’ health problems, including their furry family members. One common problem we hear about is joint pain in older dogs. Jamie and I are always looking for better solutions for these common, chronic issues.
When the owner of a CBD company called Relievet asked for a professional review of their products as dog-owning pharmacists, we happily agreed. We hadn’t considered using CBD before and it was a great learning opportunity.
What Jamie and I found was a dedicated team devoted to helping dogs with pain and anxiety, offering industry-leading products that set the standard for quality, good faith, and carefully following scientific research on CBD. While the research on CBD is promising, for us, the proof also has to be in the pudding.
So we tested Relievet’s products, and we’ve seen them work for our dog’s joint pain without causing any of the toxic effects associated with certain CBD extracts.
My reading of studies on different CBD extracts lead me to feel comfortable with Relievet products. They use the most evidence-based formulations dosed at the levels studied in published research.
We talked to Chris, the founder of Relievet, about his approach. He is deeply passionate about making the best possible products and making them easy to use for pet owners. During one of our conversations, he invited my wife Jamie and I to join his team as formulators and expert consultants.
We were excited to join – I love research and Jamie was excited to apply her strong background in confectionery and pharmacy compounding to coming up with new ways for pets to feel better.
Lately we’ve had a friend ask us about a disease that causes joint pain in dogs – specifically breakdown of the spine. It leads to extreme discomfort, lack of mobility, and loss of quality of life in dogs. Here we’d like to share some of the answers we came up with for them – we hope they’ll guide you and your veterinarian in helping your four-legged family members too!
CBD For Joint Problems in Dogs
Before we dive into why you should consider CBD for your dog’s joint problems, we’d like to share a story one of our customers told us after trying Relievet:
“I have been using Relievet products for at least a year now. I use it for my old dog, Misty, who has trouble with hip pain and walking. I also use it for my daughter’s cat who is very anxious and tends to bite and scratch a lot. I see so much of a difference in Misty’s walking when she takes her Relievet.
I just bought the freeze-dried treats in beef liver flavor and she loves them! Easier to give than the drops. I give the cat drops mixed into his wet food and after an hour he is so mellow and loves cuddling! His bites and scratches are rare when he has his drops.
I recommend these CBD drops to friends and family with pet issues. I’ve tried other dog treats and they don’t work as well. Plus I think Relievet is a better value. You get more for your money. I buy directly from their shop in San Diego now. I first ordered online and it arrived so quick!”
QUIZ: Which CBD Product Is Best For Your Dog?
What is IVDD in Dogs?
IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a condition¹ that occurs in dogs when the soft discs between the bones in their spine break down.
You might have also heard this called “herniation”, “bulging discs”, or “degeneration.” When this happens, it can cause the small bones of the back, called the vertebrae, to grind against each other without cushioning.
This bone-on-bone grinding is painful and causes inflammation, pain, and nerve damage that also leads to nerve pain.
What are the Symptoms of IVDD?
IVDD can have many symptoms. Some of the more common ones include:
- Pain in the neck or back
- Difficulty walking
- Not eating as much
- Holding head low, unable to lift head
- Paralysis (inability to move)
How to Treat IVDD?
Moderate IVDD that causes pain but is not life threatening can be treated with pain medications. Veterinarians can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen to help your dog feel better. Carprofen can cause some serious side effects, especially when used in the long term.
A natural alternative, CBD, is shown to be effective² in dogs for conditions causing joint pain, as long as the correct formulation is used. Later in the article we go into more depth on how to choose the best CBD products, but in short the evidence most supports the use of THC-free broad-spectrum extract products.
If you’re worried about the possible negative effects of NSAIDs³ and want an all-natural alternative, it’s worth bringing up good CBD extracts with your veterinarian. Relievet’s products follow the science. They are evidence-based to provide the safest and most effective relief for your pet. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment for your individual pet!
How to Choose the Best CBD Products for IVDD
There are two main types of CBD products available that help with dog joint pain: Oral treats given by mouth and under-the-tongue oils. Oral CBD treats are typically fed to the pet in whole or half treats to get the right dose, while CBD oil is applied right under the tongue.
CBD oil contains cannabidiol, an anti-inflammatory compound found in cannabis plants. Some oils and treats use full-spectrum extract that contains CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabidol. It’s important to avoid full-spectrum extracts. THC is toxic to dogs⁴, and CBD extracts that contain THC are more likely to hurt dogs⁵ than those that are THC free.
One study’s authors reported: “…at our investigated doses, a CBD-predominant oil formulation was safer and more tolerated in dogs than oil formulations containing higher concentrations of THC.”
Broad-spectrum extracts like those from Relievet have CBD with no detectable THC. This means they do not have the toxicity risks of THC at all! It’s been reported in at least one study⁶ that THC-free CBD products do not even increase liver enzymes in dogs – one of the only concerning things reported about CBD extracts in general. “Daily administration of CBD for 30 days does not alter alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or alkaline phosphatase (ALKP) levels.”
The extract should use a carrier oil that is safe and effective for dogs. An Italian study comparing different common oils found that MCT oil products remain stable for longer⁷ and help absorption. This is why Relievet CBD oils use MCT oil as a carrier – it’s safe for dogs and works well to keep CBD potent and stable.
Relievet focuses on making products that are simple, natural, and affordable.
That’s why there are only two ingredients in Relievet CBD oils: Broad spectrum, THC free CBD extract and MCT oil!
Whatever product you choose for your dog, make sure it’s science based like Relievet oils: Broad-spectrum (lab verified THC-free), and using a carrier oil like MCT that keeps the CBD stable and potent.
We generally recommend oils given under the tongue for any dog that can take medicine this way over treats. The CBD oil is more likely to get into their bloodstream effectively. Treats absorb through the stomach and small intestine and a lot of the CBD can be broken down in digestion or through the liver as a result.
If you do use treats, your pet may require a higher dose. Work with your veterinarian to see what’s best for you and your pets.
How to Dose CBD for IVDD in Dogs
Some websites promote the use of CBD extracts at very high doses (one dose fits all dogs) even for small dogs. Some even claim that CBD extracts are not toxic at any dose. This is simply untrue, especially for full-spectrum CBD extracts that contain THC . As we’ve discussed, THC is known to be toxic to dogs⁸ and causes stumbling, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, agitation, and the inability to stop urinating.
Studies support⁹ dosing at 2mg/kg for dogs when using a sublingual oil for joint pain.
“This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.”
Doses may need to be carefully titrated up when using treats because the absorption and metabolism of CBD from the gut can use up some of the dose before it gets into your pet’s bloodstream. Work with your veterinarian to find the lowest dose that gives your dog symptom relief.
Using higher doses than the minimum needed to successfully treat your dog’s symptoms only does two things: Increases the chance your dog has negative side effects and helps the manufacturer make more money by selling you more CBD extract than you need. Relievet is dedicated to safe, easy to use, cost-effective dosing. All our products are formulated for specific dog weights with dose droppers that are easy to use.
We hope this helps you work with your pet’s health team to find a solution as good as the one we’ve found for our dog Penny. If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you!
Can CBD Help IVDD in Dogs?
When I was approached to join the CBD Dog Health team, I didn’t hesitate for even a second to say yes. Cannabis had changed my life and when I learned it could help change animals’ lives too, I knew what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Since I’ve joined, CBD has dramatically improved the life of my own beloved dog, Blanche, who suffered terribly from acute separation anxiety, but I have been so grateful to be able to witness countless other pets who could barely walk, start to RUN. Seizures, allergies, all levels of anxiety – GONE!
It’s been an incredible journey, but I have to admit how difficult it can be to hear of so many animals suffering and these poor pet parents who are so scared to try this all-natural medicine because of the stigma surrounding it. I’ve spent HOURS on the phone with stressed-out pet owners doing my very best to educate and guide them into being comfortable using cannabis medicine. It’s simply a matter of education and understanding. As exhausting as it can be, it is ALWAYS worth it when I get to hear all of the incredible success stories from all over the country. Happy, healthy pets and relieved owners! So now, I want to share some of these stories with you.
One of our favorite stories was with a beautiful dog named Olivia who we helped live out her very best life, pain-free for her last year. A few months ago, Olivia’s mother contacted us to let us know that her sweet girl had passed away peacefully. It was so sad to hear. I took a breath and told her that because she decided to share Olivia’s story with our audience, she’s been able to help hundreds of other dogs live healthy, happy, pain-free lives. Her story has helped other pet parents understand the benefits of using CBD for their pet’s health needs. Because sometimes, all you have to do is see it for yourself, and that gives you the faith you need to dive in on something like CBD. So Olivia lives on in each of those animals’ lives. She has impacted them through her story and has helped so many other animals who needed a solution. And that’s why we do what we do. My hope in writing these success story blogs is for you to see how much CBD can improve other pets’ lives to help you take the leap of faith and start healing your animals NATURALLY too. Sharing real stories, from real pet owners is the best way for us to demonstrate the true success and effectiveness of CBD. So let’s get this storytime started!
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CBD FOR IVDD
Success Story: Toothless
“This is Toothless! He is a gem and stole our hearts as soon as we met him. We rescued him 4 years ago, but the past he left behind is catching up to him. The little fella suffers from IVDD (disc disease), and sadly he collided with his big k9 sister coming in from outside. It was the worst “flare-up” we have ever seen. We went to the emergency vet twice and after he was fully loaded with SO MANY drugs, it just wasn’t working. He was spending his days whimpering and yelping out in pain.”
“Heads hung, feeling defeated & preparing for the worst, we decided to try alternative and less invasive methods. I found a local vet that thinks more holistically and got our boy in for a consult. We’re now on a path to recovery with acupuncture, laser therapy, and you guessed it – CBD oil! EASE, to be exact!”
“Since his first porcupine sessions and applications of the oil, our boy is finally able to rest and let his body heal. Inflammation is decreasing and his ears are finally standing upright again. There’s no doubt that we are early in this process, or that we have a ways to go, but we are so relieved to have found something that seems to provide relief and isn’t pumping him full of contradicting medicines!”
WHAT IS IVDD?
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a degenerative disease where the cushioning disks between the vertebrate of the spinal column bulge or burst into the spinal cord space. When this happens the disk will press against nerves that run along the spinal cord. It is one of the most common neurological issues seen in pets and unfortunately, is something that can come at any age and can happen at any time. This can lead to extreme pain, nerve damage, or even paralysis. Depending on the location of the damaged disk, problems can occur anywhere in the body (though in cats it’s mostly found in the neck and upper back).
IVDD is most commonly found in short-legged breeds like dachshunds and beagles and especially in obese and out-of-shape dogs.
A few ways to tell if your dog is suffering from IVDD:
- Unable to move neck
- Back Pain
- Crying when touched
- Abdominal tenderness
- Dragging their leg(s)
- Falling over
- Reduced Appetite
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Arched back
- Unwillingness to jump
HOW CBD CAN HELP YOUR ANIMAL WITH IVDD?
REDUCE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
What matters most with an animal suffering from IVDD is preserving their quality of life! We want to reduce the pain and inflammation as much as possible. Generally, a veterinarian would recommend or prescribe an NSAID like Rimadyl. Unfortunately, these drugs are tough on our animal’s bodies and can cause things like stomach ulcers, kidney failure, and liver toxicity. CBD is a natural, side-effect-free solution to help your animal with pain and inflammation.
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to reduce inflammation. For millions of years, the endocannabinoid system has existed in almost every living organism from humans to animals and even some insects. This universal system’s overall function is to regulate homeostasis within the body.
CBD provides communication between varying types of cells within our bodies using receptors. These communications regulate certain cells to act in defense of the body. For example, if you are injured, CBD helps instruct cells on how to handle the injury.
A Baylor College of Medicine study, using In vitro and in mouse models, found that CBD significantly attenuated the production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α while elevating levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10. In the veterinary study, CBD significantly decreased pain and increased mobility in a dose-dependent fashion among animals with an affirmative diagnosis of OA.
Another study published in 2006 in Current Neuropharmacology also states that cannabinoid receptors have shown therapeutic value against inflammatory and neuropathic pains and also concluded that CBD has therapeutic benefits for both people and pets suffering from chronic pain and acute chronic pain episodes.
Did you know that the U.S. government has a patent on cannabis as a neuro-protectant? As a neuro-protectant, CBD helps reduce damage to the brain and nervous system and encourages the growth and development of new neurons. A condition such as IVDD can create permanent neural damage, but studies have shown that CBD is able to protect against this damage and improve recovery.
A recent study suggests that “the endocannabinoids acting through CB1 and CB2 receptors are part of an early neuroprotective response triggered after SCI that is involved in the spontaneous recovery after an incomplete lesion.”
Another study done on mice concluded, “Cannabidiol improved locomotor functional recovery and reduced injury extent, suggesting that it could be useful in the treatment of spinal cord lesions.”
IVDD can be a very scary and traumatic time for your cat or dog. Dealing with chronic pain and possibly losing the ability to walk is very challenging and upsetting for your pet and for you as well. If your animal has had to go through surgery for IVDD, they are confined to a crate to keep them immobile for a few weeks afterward which causes a great deal of stress and anxiety for many pets who may be unaccustomed to being crated. Using CBD to help ease their anxiety is an excellent way to help your animal rest peacefully during their recovery and every day.
alleviate MUSCLE SPASMS
Muscle spasms are a common side effect of IVDD. Unfortunately, these spasms can be very painful to your animal so it’s really important to control them as much as possible. Full Spectrum CBD can help with these muscle spasms and keep your pet more comfortable.
DOSING CBD for IVDD
It may seem strange, but It’s very important to understand that the dosing of CBD has very little to do with the size or the weight of the animal and more to do with their particular ailment and the animal’s specific needs. For example, a small dog suffering from cancer would need a lot more than a big dog with anxiety. Studies have demonstrated the safety of using CBD, even in extremely high doses, so you have nothing to worry about.
Finding the correct dose of CBD for IVDD may take a little bit of trial and error. I recommend keeping a daily journal to document and moderate how much you are giving and what dose is making them feel better. Remember, while CBD isn’t proven to cure the issue, it is all about improving your beloved pet’s QUALITY OF LIFE!
Decide on the starting daily dose (based on our experience, I would start at around 20mg a day) and check in after a few days. Have you noticed a difference in their mobility and comfort level? Do you think they need more? Are they doing great and you want to see if they could do just as well with a lesser amount? Log these details and you will be able to discern the exact dosage that you need to see the desired results. Each pet is unique and different so get comfortable with making adjustments as needed. Think Goldilocks and the subtleties in her choice of the ‘just right’ bed. Tweak the dosage until you find that sweet spot that works just right for your fur baby. Because of the chronic nature of the IVDD condition, we advise that you continue administering CBD daily in order to keep your pet pain-free, relaxed, and comfortable.
Father of Blanche, and 8-year old Shih Tzu and senior rescue Linda, Hernando Umana is a Broadway performer in New York City and works tirelessly to share the benefits of CBD with pet parents across the country. He graduated from Dr. Sulak’s Healer Cannabis Dosage Protocols and Methodologies. Despite his confidence and talent, Hernando found himself struggling after graduation. In a profession where anxiety is absolutely crippling, he wasn’t getting the kind of work he knew he should be getting. Thankfully, during one of his many visits to Angie in Florida, she introduced him to CBD and he has never looked back. Four years later, he had opened two first national tours, been on Broadway, worked with Cyndi Lauper, Brendan Urie, Andrew Loyd Webber, and many others. And now – Hernando is Co-Owner of CBD Dog Health. CBD was life-changing for both of them, and he could not be happier to be in a business doing something he loves so much that helps dogs like Blanche live a happy, stress-free life.