NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When it comes to sick pets many owners will go to great lengths to help them feel better.
Now, some have started to take matters into their own hands and have turned to a remedy that isn’t even legal in some states, CBS 2′s Maurice Dubois reported Friday.
Rowyn Capers’ dog, “Luna,” was suffering from late-stage lymphoma and was put on an intense schedule of chemotherapy. The treatments came with devastating side effects.
“Her lymph nodes were like golf balls and she was coughing constantly and she couldn’t breath and I just thought it’s time to say goodbye,” Capers said.
Capers gave Luna medical marijuana to help ease her suffering.
“The first time I dosed her I was so scared. We were looking at her all night,” Capers said, “The more I increased her cannabis dose the less side effects that she had. The vomiting stopped, the diarrhea stopped.”
The cannabis came in the form of a concentrated oil in a capsule. Capers said the results have been remarkable.
“When you see them enjoying life and feeling better and not being sick you know you’ve hit something,” she said.
Certified animal behaviorist Darlene Arden is a strong advocate for the use of medical marijuana on pets. She called cannabis a “legitimate medication.”
“I think we can now see marijuana for exactly what it is and what it can do. Not a street drug but a legitimate medication to be used under proper supervision,” she said.
The ASPCA disagrees.
“We don’t have enough data to know how it can be used effectively and we currently have a lot of really good modalities to treat pain using multiple different drugs and therapies,” Dr. Amy Greenbaum said.
However, some dog owners feel that cannabis may be a safer option.
“I don’t want to bash the drugs, but you take some of these pain medications for the dogs and you hear, ‘we’ll have to check the blood level and make sure their liver is OK,’” Mary Lynn Mathre said.
When Mathre’s 13-year-old golden retriever was diagnosed with cancer she administered a daily dose of cannabis to all of her pets.
“Normally for the dogs for the cancer it seems that butter made from the remnants of the cannabis plant, the leaves from the plant, and put it on a cracker and every evening they get their cannabis cracker,” she said.
Mathre said that the cannabis helped with the cancer and was also effective in treating a hot spot on another dog’s leg.
“There was no hair on a circle that it would lick and lick,” Mathre explained.
Al Byrne said he tried it on his dogs as well and was impressed with the results.
“I’ve seen all three of our dogs, they range in age from 13 to 3, remarkably improve,” he said. “I would say the energy is up. Certainly their coat and their shine in their eyes is there.”
Until there is a formal study on the effectiveness of medical marijuana on pets, experts advise caution.
“The one thing more heartbreaking than watching your pet suffer would be to know that maybe you gave your pet something that made them worse or killed them, and that’s just not a risk that I would be willing to take,” Dr. Greenbaum said.
The cannabis given to pets is treated and administered in a way that does not make them high, Dubois reported.
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