Horses, just like humans, have to deal with pain. Stressed out, overweight, or highly-active horses can develop laminitis, a condition affecting their hooves. As loving pet owners, it’s something we try to prevent at all costs. Treatment, of course, involves removing initial stressors and working alongside a veterinarian to alleviate symptoms. But there might be another way.
CBD has emerged as a wonderful treatment for all kinds of conditions in humans. It’s also showing promise in pets, especially larger, more active ones like horses. If CBD can treat arthritis, pain, appetite, and stress in humans, could it work the same for horses with laminitis? Let’s find out.
What is laminitis in horses?
At the bottom of a horse’s foot sits a piece of soft tissue called the lamina. Its job is to connect the pedal bone to the hoof wall, essentially holding the hoof on. When this tissue gets inflamed, horses develop a condition called laminitis. It’s incredibly painful, considering the weight supported by their laminae with each step. To make matters even worse, once a horse comes down with laminitis, they’re more likely to get it again.
What are the symptoms?
Laminitis tends to present more often in the forelimbs than hindlimbs, affecting a horse’s stance. One of the tell-tale signs of laminitis is a horse rocking their weight backward while standing. However, all four feet can be affected. In addition to gait issues, pet owners should look out for the following symptoms:
- Persistent lying down
- Hesitance to move
- Difficulty picking up one forelimb
- A warm sensation at the top of the hoof
- Rapid pulse
- Presence of laminitic rings after multiple cases
- A change in the shape of the hoof wall
Can Cbd Oil Help My Horse With Laminitis?
Giving your horse CBD can both prevent the onset of laminitis and treat symptoms as they arise. That’s great, but what is CBD, anyway? And how does it work for horses?
What is CBD?
CBD is a phytocannabinoid naturally occurring in the plant Cannabis sativa. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD won’t get you (or your horses) high. Rather, it interacts with something called the endocannabinoid system to yield a bunch of health benefits. Scientists discovered this system in mammals back in the 1980s. They soon realized bodies use natural cannabinoids to transmit signals, much like the endocrine system uses hormones. Since CBD mimics the chemical structure of endocannabinoids, it attaches to the very same receptors within the body.
Therefore, supplemental CBD is used to enhance the endocannabinoid system, which regulates everything from sleep and mood to pain and cognition. In horses, CBD can be used to treat painful conditions such as laminitis.
Benefits of using CBD for Laminitis
Laminitis is an inflammatory condition caused by age, activity, and other factors. As CBD has been shown to reduce widespread inflammation, it makes sense as an intervention. It can also provide pain relief, helping your horse cope with the symptoms.
Use CBD to fight inflammation
Both acute and chronic inflammation are the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Horses, as active creatures, are susceptible to both. Maybe your horse sprains a hoof while frolicking in the fields. Immediately, their body signals an inflammatory response to both limit activity and rush nutrients to that location. It can also happen over time, with old age, increased activity, and other conditions causing microtraumas. Although these reactions are similar to those in humans – redness, swelling, and pain – it’s often difficult for horse owners to spot until serious symptoms arise. Regular treatment with CBD assures that inflammation, if any, is caught and treated before it becomes an issue.
CBD reduces pain sensations
While pain is a necessary indicator of a problem, once you spot the issue, you want it to go away. Many vets find that CBD significantly decreases degenerative pain in animals. Research shows it binds to receptors that signal pain, interrupting their action. It’s sort of like blocking the brain’s view of an injury. If it can’t register as pain, the horse won’t feel it as much. That doesn’t mean you can just give your horse some CBD and ride them for hours. The localized issue will still exist, and you should work with your vet on developing a treatment plan. However, it can improve the quality of life and reduce stress during recovery.
Has there been much research carried out on the topic?
Research for CBD as a treatment for pain remains in its early stages. We do know that there exists promise for the treatment of osteoarthritis, however, which could be extrapolated to laminitis. Generally, research proves that CBD reduces widespread inflammation in humans and animals alike. More research is warranted for CBD as a specific treatment for laminitis.
Are There Any Side Effects?
In the right dose, CBD is considered safe. Due to the large size of horses, it’s tough to overdose with CBD oil. However, mild side effects include drowsiness, fatigue, and diarrhea. Research has yet to confirm the effects of long-term use, simply due to the novelty of CBD for pets. Always check with your veterinarian before starting CBD as a treatment for laminitis.
How do I give my horse CBD?
So, you’ve decided you want to try CBD to treat laminitis. How do you go about it?
CBD for horses comes in droplets, treats, and salves. While it might make the most sense to apply CBD cream to a horse’s hoof, they might recoil due to the pain of laminitis. Plus, it’s tough to absorb directly through the skin into the tissue. That means your best bet is oral administration.
Add a few drops of CBD to your horse’s feed daily, or use a dropper to place it directly on their tongue. Over time, the gradual build-up of cannabinoids will slow down inflammation. Dosing recommendations vary on size and condition, so talk to your vet about the regularity of use.
What CBD Oils do we recommend for horses with laminitis?
When going about purchasing CBD for your pet, you definitely want the best quality. Since CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA, how can you be sure what you’re getting is top-notch? Always make sure to research manufacturing processes and individual companies. Buy your horses CBD oils from hemp only, and make sure they test each batch for purity. The last thing you want is to make matters worse.
To save you some time, we’ve done the research ourselves. Our recommendation? Green Flower Botanicals.
Green Flower Botanicals CBD for Horses
As a leading company in the CBD industry, Green Flower Botanicals offers products for humans and pets alike. They’re actually one of the only big-name companies that design a product specifically for horses. Using CO2 extraction, they pull their CBD oils from locally-grown hemp. This way, you get the purest full-spectrum oils on the market. Unlike isolate, their full-spectrum blends allow room for terpenes, other phytocannabinoids, and fatty acids. These elements offer their own health benefits, as well as enhance the natural fighting power of CBD.
Green Flower Botanicals offers three CBD concentrations for your horse – 1800mg, 3600mg, or 7200 mg. Doses vary based on your horse’s age, size, and severity of the condition. Fortunately, Green Flower offers a quick dosing guide to make your life easier. What’s even better – they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. That way, if you decide to try it, and your horse just isn’t having it, you’ll get a refund. We recommend speaking with your vet first about your specific condition before purchase, however. They may have some advice on administration and dosing as well. Feel free to grab a month’s supply from their website for anywhere from $200 to $600.
Laminitis is a tough condition. Just like anything, it can arise out of the blue, no matter how much you try to avoid it. However, monitoring your horse’s health and limiting both chronic and acute inflammation is your best bet. If symptoms do arise, make sure to get in touch with a vet ASAP. You can talk to them about the next steps, and whether CBD would be right for your horse.
If you do choose CBD, make sure to pick a brand that caters specifically to horses. We recommend Green Flower Botanicals for all of your pet-related CBD needs – laminitis or otherwise. If you’re eager to learn more about CBD and horses, feel free to check out this YouTube video. Otherwise, we can’t wait to hear how CBD changed your horse’s health for the better.