Animals

Vets Are Risking Everything To Help Dogs In Pain

California vets are facing a tricky decision between treating their animals and losing their license.

There's a pretty effective way to treat both seizures and cancer in pets, but the drug is still controversial and actually illegal in a lot of states.

The drug? Marijuana.

"Our hands really are tied," said Ken Pawlowski, president of the California Veterinary Medical Association. "Definitely we're getting more questions from clients asking about it for their pets, but unfortunately we don't have any answers for them."

For Michael Fasman, cannabis oil is the only thing that works for his 12-year-old dog, Hudson. Hudson has constant pain from arthritis, but painkillers just "knock her out." Fasman decided to try giving Hudson cannabis oil and it immediately helped her.

"We think it's really lifted her spirits and made her a happier dog," Fasman said. "It's not that she's changed. She's just back to her good old self."

There really is no scientific data to back up claims that cannabis oil helps treat pets, but many owners are convinced it helps. There are even companies, like TreatWell, that sells cannabis products which, according to their website, help with "anxiety, poor appetite, pain, inflammation and seizures, as well as kidney and liver problems, cancer and glaucoma."

Treatwell co-founder, Alison Ettel, says ""What we find is a lot of the animals are coming to us when there are no other options and pharmaceuticals haven't worked for that animal. They're at that last resort, and cannabis is really good for those types of situations."

Michael Fasman and his dog, HudsonEric Risberg, AP

Some veterinarians aren't afraid to talk to their clients about it, but make sure they have all the information.

"[I tell them to] use them at their own risk with the potential to spend money for no improvement, or a risk of adverse side effects," says veterinarian Karl Jandry.

While medical marijuana is legal in 28 states, it's still technically illegal under federal law, so there hasn't been a ton of research into the potential medical benefits in both humans or animals.

In case you're worried about your pets getting high off the cannabis oil, you can rest easy. The chemical found in the cannabis oil is cannabidiol, which is a chemical that doesn't get pets or people high. The products contain little to no thetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what gives marijuana its psychedelic effects.

Do you think vets should be able to prescribe medical cannabis oil to animals who need it? Or is there another way to deal with the pain?

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