Researchers from Waltham Science Institute have studied aspects of the safety and efficacy of long-term oral cannabidiol (CBD) supplementation in cats.
There’s been increasing research on the use of CBD in pets for the treatment and/or management of various conditions, but it has been mainly confined to dogs. This new study sought to address gaps in the knowledge around the long-term suitability and tolerance of CBD distillate with zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in clinically healthy cats; consisting of a single daily 4 mg/kg dose and an additional four-week postprandial plasma CBD time course study.
Generally speaking, the formulation was absorbed into plasma and well tolerated when supplemented over 26 weeks in cats.
“However, caution should be applied, and veterinary checks recommended, if any history of liver issues is known or in the event of suspected concurrent infection,” state the researchers. ” There is also further need for determining efficacy of CBD doses to improve our understanding of CBD and its use in cats.”
The reason for the warning is three cats experienced high alanine transaminase (ALT) with concurrent lack of appetite and/or general lethargy. An increased ALT level is often a sign of liver disease. Subsequent diagnosis via abdominal ultrasound and blood biochemistry indicated suspected ascending cholangitis, which is an inflammation of the gall bladder and liver.
One affected cat was in the placebo group and two in the CBD group.
“It is unknown whether the incidence of cholangitis was higher in the CBD group coincidentally or if the supplement (and/or involvement in the study) contributed through added pressure on the hepatic (and any linked) system and metabolic processes in these cats.”
The researchers said CBD itself was unlikely to have caused this quite common infection directly.
While the study, recently published in the journal Frontiers In Veterinary Science, provides more and much needed information on the use of CBD in cats, it also highlights the importance for pet owners to consult a veterinary professional before starting their pets on cannabidiol.
On a related note, Waltham Petcare Science Institute also recently undertook a study of the safety and efficacy of THC-free cannabidiol in dogs and found that a daily dose of CBD significantly reduced some measures of stress in dogs going on car journeys.
The Waltham Petcare Science Institute is the science hub for Mars Petcare.