Colitis can be distressful for pets and owners alike, dog, cats and horses can all suffer from colitis and if undiagnosed can lead to further health issues. There are many triggers that cause colitis in our pets and these can be managed a variety of ways, but with research into CBD and its impact on mammalian bodies, could this supplement help our pets in ways we never previously considered?
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Colitis, What It Is and What Triggers It
Colitis simply means that our pets are suffering from an inflamed large intestine or colon, the results of which is loose stools and diarrhoea. When people take their pets to the vet, the symptoms they describe are usually that they have seen frequent and small volumes of semi-formed liquid. Colitis can be acute, where it comes on suddenly with little to no warning, or it can be chronic where it lasts several weeks, or you pet suffers from reoccurring bouts.
There are a variety of triggers for colitis, there isn’t one single item that will cause it in all of our pets. Triggers can include stress, parasitic infections, a reaction to antibiotics, a dietary intolerance, a bacterial infection or a viral infection just to name a few. Whilst the trigger may vary, the results are similar in that your pet, if they have colitis, will suffer from diarrhoea. You will need to work with your vet to try and pinpoint exactly what the trigger is (especially in reoccurring bouts) and then develop a nutrition plan around this. As long as you manage the colitis, your pet will have a speedy recovery.
What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
CBD has now become a blanket term for products that are derived from the cannabis stevia, when in actual fact, CBD is just one of the chemical compounds that is found in it. Different types of cannabis have different levels of these compounds, which all work with the mammal system to produce surprising results.
Full spectrum or whole plant extracts are products that give you all of the 421 building blocks of cannabis together, with nothing being extracted or isolated. It may seem counter intuitive to look for products that have all 421 compounds, when all the marketing is promoting CBD on its own, but whole plant extracts have a much wider benefit than CBD alone. In mammal bodies there is an innate endocannibal system (eCB’s), this system works alongside our respiratory system, central nervous system, muscular skeletal system and relays messages to endocannibal receptors (CB1 & CB2) when cannabis enters our system.
The eCB’s (the messengers) are broken down into two groups, anandamide, this molecule is involved with memory, appetite and other properties and 2AG is attributed to helping lessen the damage from seizures, emotions and even cardiovascular health. The receptors are waiting to receive these messages in a variety of locations, with CB1 receptors being located in mammalian brains and CB2 receptors being located in cells within our immune system.
When we take a full spectrum product, all the building blocks work together to become more than the sum of their parts, known as the entourage effect. An example of this is CBD working with the terpenes found in full spectrum products that bind with the CB2 receptors and reduce inflammation, decrease stress and promote healing. There are many other examples of the entourage effect, some of which we are only beginning to understand, but the research is not letting up yet.
CBD and Colitis
Colitis can be brought on by a variety of triggers ranging from emotional stress, to a parasite that could have been picked up. Either way, you are left with a pet that feels under the weather and doesn’t necessarily want to eat or drink. CBD can help manage some of the symptoms of colitis, especially if you are struggling to get your dog or cat to feed. Whole plant extracts have been shown to increase appetite and reduce nausea, which is something your pet may be feeling if they are suffering a chronic bout. Not only can CBD increase your pet’s appetite, studies are showing that it can also boost immune system responses and help to strengthen them, this is particularly good if colitis is an ongoing health issue. If colitis is caused by stress, CBD can help manage this, it does this by increasing the blood flow into the areas of the brain that manage our stress hormones and promote balance.
What Product Is Best For Your Pet?
Selecting a CBD product for your pet can seem difficult, especially as there are so many on the market. First and foremost, you need to have a discussion with your vet to make sure there won’t be any adverse reactions if your pet is currently taking medicine, you also want to make them aware that you are considering this supplement in case your pet needs further treatment later on. CBD oils will provide your pet with the most stable and consistent results, they are absorbed by the body quickly with limited breakdown occurring in digestion and the results will also last longer than if you were to use treats that have been infused with CBD. If you are concerned about the level of THC in whole plant CBD products, you can filter results by only looking at products that derived from hemp as these are naturally lower in THC than other cannabis stevia.
Colitis can be stressful for both you and your pets, thankfully though it is relatively easy to diagnose and mange with the correct veterinary attention. We are still only scratching the surface of our understanding when it comes to CBD and its impact on the mammal eCB system, with more evidence to its benefits being revealed daily. Make sure you have a chat with your vet prior to starting any CBD supplements to make sure they are happy for you to do so.