Is CBD oil good for cats with FIV? How does it help them through different stages of the disease? Read this guide to find out if CBD oil can help your FIV cat.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of the 100+ active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Each of these compounds, or cannabinoids, can be processed by special cannabinoid receptors in our body that are part of our endocannabinoid system.
Research surrounding the endocannabinoid system is still in its infancy, but preliminary results indicate that it has an important role in regulating a wide range of physiological and cognitive processes. This includes pain sensation, appetite, mood, memory, and motor function.
Related Post: Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Indoor Cats?Is pet insurance worth it for indoor cats? Read this guide to learn about pet insurance for cats and calculate if it is really worth it for your indoor cat.
Does CBD Oil Really Work?
Whether or not CBD oil really works depends on two things. On the one hand we are still waiting on science to confirm what so far is mostly anecdotal evidence. Yes, the evidence is overwhelmingly positive. CBD users report improvements in their appetite and mobility, feeling less anxious and being less reliant on subscription pain medication.
But we can’t be completely certain of the actual short and long term effects of taking CBD until it is fully tested. Unfortunately, cannabis is still illegal in most countries, which makes it difficult for researchers to get the funding and the materials they need to actually do the research.
On the other hand the legal quagmire surrounding cannabis also results in a market of CBD and other cannabis-related products that is, for the most part, unregulated. Anyone that has the materials to make CBD oil and a legal venue to sell it, can do so without any oversight.
This means that we as consumers have to be extra vigilant about what we buy and put into our own or our pets’ bodies.
One thing you should always do when shopping for CBD oil is to check the manufacturer’s website for a test report from a third party laboratory. It has to be third party testing, otherwise the results are inherently unreliable.
The test report should list exactly which cannabinoids and terpenes are present and in what quantities. Furthermore, it should indicate whether the CBD oil contains any pesticides, fungi, bacteria, solvents and/or heavy metals. It should go without saying that all these tests should be marked as “pass”.
If the manufacturer’s site says the product is third party tested, but doesn’t link the results, send them an email to ask for them. If they cannot or will not share the test results with you, then you probably shouldn’t trust their product.
It can be a task to find the right CBD oil for your cat. But if you do your due diligence and get fully informed about a product before purchasing it, you can be sure it is safe. There is no risk of overdosing with CBD. Cannabinoids are cleaned out of your system too fast to ever build up to a toxic level.
How Do Cats React To CBD Oil?
Just like humans, many animals also have an endocannabinoid system. This implies that they react to cannabinoids in a similar, if not the same, way to us. Research into the effects of CBD on animals, however, is even less prolific than research on its effects on humans. So anything related to cats’ reactions to CBD oil is speculative at best.
That said, the consensus among cat owners who have tried CBD oil for cats is very high, making their anecdotal claims more believable.
Positive Effects Of CBD Oil For Cats
- CBD oil makes cats less anxious;
- CBD oil helps ailing cats to keep up their appetite;
- CBD oil improves digestion in cats with chronic kidney disease;
- CBD oil helps cats with cerebellar hypoplasia to move with intent;
- CBD oil allows arthritic cats to regain mobility;
- CBD oil relieves nausea after cancer treatment.
Known Side Effects Of CBD Oil For Cats
- Too much CBD oil can make a cat lethargic;
- Some cats simply don’t tolerate CBD and will vomit or have diarrhea in the hours after ingesting it. Too much CBD oil can have the same effect, so you might try lowering the dose first;
- The smell and taste of CBD oil can be too much for cats to bear. You can dilute it with some water and feed it to them with a syringe. Or try another method of supplying it to them, like CBD treats, capsules, or a topical CBD balm.
CBD Oil And FIV
FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus, is a retrovirus similar to HIV that affects the immune systems of 2 to 5% of cats worldwide. There is no known cure for FIV, but luckily the disease itself is rarely fatal.
Cats with late-stage FIV are at risk of developing all sorts of secondary ailments and infections, which can be more debilitating and are more likely to lead to their death than the underlying FIV infection. But as long as cats with FIV maintain an overall good health, they can live long, happy lives with FIV.
Since curing the disease is not an option, the question whether or a cat with FIV could benefit from CBD oil therefore mostly depends on their primary and secondary symptoms, which change as the disease progresses.
What Symptoms Do Cats With FIV Have?
Cats with FIV go through three stages. Shortly after contracting FIV, your cat will go through a short period of feeling lethargic and not eating well. They might have a fever or swollen lymph nodes, but the symptoms tend to be mild and will fade within 3 to 6 months.
After this initial stage of the disease, a cat with FIV will enter an asymptomatic stage. They will appear to be perfectly healthy with no noticeable symptoms. This second stage can last anywhere from a few months to many years. The length of the asymptomatic stage depends both on the type of the virus your cat has contracted and on their overall health.
In the final stage of FIV the dormant virus becomes active again and starts to interfere with your cat’s immune system. This stage is called the feline acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or FAIDS.
Because FAIDS impairs the immune system, it leaves your cat vulnerable to basically everything. A simple cold can turn into a fatal pneumonia in the blink of an eye for a cat with FAIDS. The symptoms to look out for in this stage are everything that seems like a deviation from their normal “happy cat” behavior. Whether it’s a sneeze, unexpected shedding, a limp, or a suspicious meow, it could be a sign of trouble.
Is CBD Oil Good For Cats With FIV?
So, cats with FIV first go through a lot of nothing, followed by a lot of everything. But how do you arm yourself against nothing and everything at the same time?
Your first and best bet is to make the asymptomatic stage last as long as possible. Some of this will sadly be out of your control, but you can make a significant difference in prolonging your FIV cat’s life. That means feeding them the healthiest diet possible, and giving them supplements that support their overall health.
CBD oil for cats is a very good supplement to consider if your cat has asymptomatic FIV. First of all, CBD oil will stimulate their appetite, making sure that your cat actually eats the healthy food you buy them and takes advantage of those precious nutrients.
Secondly, CBD oil will keep up their spirits. Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially for emotional beings like cats.
And lastly, CBD oil will help to prevent and reduce any inflammation in the body. This means it actively prevents your cat from developing secondary infections that could trigger the FAIDS stage.
However, if your cat does enter, or is already in, the FAIDS stage of FIV, all of these benefits still apply. Moreover, if CBD oil works well for your cat, it could help your cat stay off of prescription drugs, like painkillers or anti nausea medication, longer.
In short, yes, CBD oil is good for cats with FIV, no matter what stage of the disease they are in. Just be aware that, in a biological sense, CBD is still a toxin that is passed through the liver and prolonged use could lead to liver damage. If you give your FIV cat CBD oil regularly, then you are advised to stick to a low dose and to take your cat to the vet for a standard liver screening at least once a year.
Want to know what CBD oil we recommend you try for your cat? Check out this post on the Best CBD Products For Cats for our top picks.