Wednesday, September 30, 2020

CBD Oil For Heaves In Horses

I find alternative medicine fascinating, especially ones that are scientifically backed, like herbal medicine, and CBD and medical cannabis are a special interest of mine. One thing I've learned, though, is that cannabis is absolutely poisonous to dogs. So imagine my surprise to learn that CBD oil is used for some animals- specifically horses- medicinally. I am happily sharing this knowledge with you that I got from a reader.

A common, chronic condition threatening horses' performance and health over the long term is heaves. Once the illness develops, there is no cure. But if caught early, it is possible to manage the symptoms and potentially minimize them in order to decrease the damage to the lungs. If it has progressed to a severe state, management can be challenging and stressful for the equine, hindering the animal's ability to breathe.

Cannabidiol (CBD Oil) For Horses

While not officially approved for use in animal feed or food for human conception, as far as that's concerned, CBD's popularity is expanding to the horse species. Equestrians are hoping to supplement their equine's healthcare with the non-psychoactive, nontoxic compound to potentially ease symptoms of specific conditions and calm instances of stress. 

The younger the horse is when starting a daily dose of the substance, the higher chance of staving the effects of heaves or RAO (Recurrent Airway Obstruction). The illness is more prevalent in older equines who consistently inhale molds, dust, and bacteria. These create a sort of allergic response within the lungs where the linings to the air passages thicken and swell, creating a mucus production. 

The condition threatens the animal's overall quality of life and long-term wellness. There is an increase in anxiety and stress for the equine, as breathing becomes more challenging. A vet will generally manage care with prescriptions, including antibiotics, antibacterials, and other prescription medications. Read to learn about managing horses with asthma.

The suggestion is to begin a horse on CBD oil in their early years as a precaution measure. The substance is purportedly a potent anti-inflammatory. By keeping the swelling within the lungs down, mucus can't develop. For those animals suffering from the disease, the compound boasts the ability to decrease the severity of the symptoms creating more breathing capacity. 

An added benefit for these species in taking CBD oil is the compound's effect in reducing anxiety symptoms. In anecdotal studies, pets ingesting the substance become much more relaxed after taking a dose. There is less panic, a sense of comfort, and the ability to rest. For a horse struggling to breathe, being calm is essential.  

Working With Your Horse's Veterinarian

No official regulations are ruling CBD oil at this point for humans, domestic pets, or horses. The products are vast, and the suppliers are plentiful, with manufacturers creating products specially developed for individual species. Please see for various horse formulas.

Vets cannot broach the topic of CBD with their clients. But pet parents must approach the subject with their equine's vet before choosing to implement the substance as a part of regular care, particularly in cases of heaves or any underlying condition. The vet may develop a course of treatment to coincide with the option for the greater good of the animal.

The medical provider will need to offer advice regarding dosing and provide healthcare management for the duration of the horse's lifespan. In creating this relationship with a reliable, reputable doctor, your 'pet' will be introduced to a healthier, happier, more exceptional quality of life.

Final Thought

Heaves is a scary condition for the equine and the equestrian. As an equestrian, it's critical to research adequate stall upkeep. The animal's space should be cleaned and maintained regularly with a deep cleaning at least once a month. If using chemicals when sanitizing, the horse should be out to pasture and not return until the stall has aired out substantially following the cleanup. 

There should be sufficient ventilation for horses that are stabled with doors and windows open except in the excessive heat. Obvious signs that there is inadequate airflow will be a musty smell developing in the area, patches of mold or moisture on the ceiling or walls, or if the space feels 'stuffy.'

At the slightest sign of a cough or breathing difficulties, the vet needs to be contacted to diagnose and initiate a treatment plan. At this point, you and the vet can collaborate on the options in developing the appropriate method of care. The earlier the onset is caught, the easier it will be to manage. 

Any behavioral change, physical sign, or mere instinct should be checked out. You know your companion better than anyone else, and it's best to remain safe.

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