There is huge interest in the potential of CBD for the relief of pain associated with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis. In this series, Siobhan Menzies and Hannah Capon examine what CBD is and how it might work; the research that is available; the effects of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s (VMD’s) September 2018 Statement that products containing CBD should be classed and regulated as veterinary medicines and where that leaves owners and vets who feel they have explored every other option.
Siobhan Menzies has been a vet for 30 years, the last 17 of which she has concentrated on pain management and rehabilitation. She runs HolisticPet (www.holisticpetni.com) which provides pain management therapies for pets in six practices across Northern Ireland. In September 2019 she accepted the position of veterinary consultant with the UK Cannabis Clinic (https://www.ukcannabisclinic.com/). The UKCC is a group of pharmacists, doctors, vets, legal and pharma compliance specialists dedicated to providing education on safe and compliant prescribing of Cannabidiol to fellow professionals.
UPDATE FROM THE VMD
As there is now an authorised human product available Epidyolex should be first choice under the Cascade. However Epidyolex is currently only available to medical specialist doctors within hospitals. So the next rung of the Cascade may then be followed “extemporaneous preparations” which is “a medicine prescribed by the vet responsible for treating the animal and prepared especially on this occasion by a vet, a pharmacist or a person holding an appropriate manufacturer’s authorisation (ManSA).” Vets should monitor the availability of Epidyolex to their profession.
Canine Arthritis Management (CAM) is a veterinary driven initiative, set up by vet Hannah Capon who was becoming overwhelmed with the number of dogs she was having to put to sleep having “gone off their legs”. This was often seen by the owners as a sudden incident, when in truth that dog had probably been suffering in silence for a long time prior to that day. In fact, we believe that as many as 1 in 5 dogs in the UK, and 80% of dogs over the age of 8, will have some degree of osteoarthritis. Unlike humans, dogs are unable to express their pain in words. Chronic pain is no doubt something most people will understand and empathise with, but it can be difficult to tell when a dog is suffering in the same way. We want to challenge the preconceived notion that “just getting old” or “slowing down” should be accepted in our four footed companions. Ageing in itself is not a disease! Here at CAM we think that by changing owner, vet and public perception of arthritis, we can improve and extend the lives of dogs.