Is CBD for horses a good idea?

We’re virtually all on board with CBD for dogs, but what about CBD for horses? Believe it or not, horses develop many of the same ailments that humans and dogs succumb to, especially inflammatory conditions.   

The good news? They have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) like humans and dogs as well.  Logically, if horses have the same ailments, and the same endogenous systems as humans and dogs, we may get similar results with similar treatments along those dimensions too! So alongside any health regimen, CBD for horses makes perfect sense.  But let’s talk about one of the most common afflictions that horse owners have to face with their equine friends.

Arthritis in horses: it isn’t unique TO horses, but it is unique FOR horses

The primary problem that many aging horses run into is arthritis.  For animals that spend almost all of their time standing, this can present some problems.  As ligament and joint health deteriorate, quality of life for horses drastically diminishes.  Joanne Meszoly appeals to the knowledge of Dr. David Frisbie of CSU in her Equus article Coping with Arthritis in Horses, describing how arthritis in horses impedes ligament function step-by-step:

  1. The inflammatory enzymes break down the lubricating synovial fluid, which gets thinner. 
  2. Proteoglycans are lost and the collagen fibers lose integrity, which diminishes the cartilage’s ability to retain lubricating water. 
  3. This damage stimulates even more inflammation, which fills the joint capsule with fluids, leading to pressure, pain and stiffness. 
  4. The buildup of inflammatory enzymes further breaks down the synovial fluid, which leads to more damage to the cartilage.

To reiterate, horses seldom lay down.  This means there’s little to no time for ligament and joint pain recovery before they’re right back on their feet and moving again.  So arthritis for horses is either extremely prohibitive, extremely painful, or both.  

Meszoly also informs us that by the time a horse is lame, the arthritis is already advanced.  She states that horse owners should check even the slightest discomfort for any horse so problems like arthritis can be diagnosed early.

On top of that, let’s be honest.  Horses just don’t have the mentality to lay down and let their bodies recuperate.  They want to work and move!

Tips for Arthritis mitigation: keeping those joints healthy!

We’ve identified the problem.  Now, how can we treat and/or mitigate arthritis to promote joint pain relief?  Build a plan that includes a variety of short-term and long-term treatment protocols to address the condition from several angles.  Here’s a brief list of pointers for tackling symptoms of arthritis:

  • Medications like NSAIDs and steroids are commonly used to treat arthritis.  Veterinarians have the best insight on which medications to use and how to use them.
  • Keep your horse active in order to stimulate circulation, but measure activity carefully, as overuse will likely take you back to square one with regard to your horse’s treatment plan.
  • Trim their hooves frequently.  This minimizes the risk of odd stress and promote joint pain relief.  The longer a horse’s foot gets, and the more cracked it gets, the more likely mishaps become.
  • Manage your horse’s weight.  This ties in with keeping them active, as optimal weight allows them to move more freely, and that movement stimulates their metabolic function in turn
  • Try using CBD for horses!  Although more definitive research is still being done, the countless thousands of anecdotal accounts about the effects of CBD on arthritis give us hope that this will be a promising treatment for arthritis in horses going forward.

CBD for Horses: The one thing most horse owners haven’t tried

As stated earlier, horses have an ECS just like we do.  Why not put that system to work and maximize our horses’ recovery?  CBD helps with so much more than arthritis, but people cite arthritis as their primary reason for CBD use above all other conditions.  5 Common Horse Health Problems and How to Prevent Them, an article by BackOnTrack Products,  confirms that it’s one of the most common health concerns for horses.

Many horses (and their owners) compete in Rodeo and Equestrian events.  As a disclaimer, if your horse participates in these competitions, or competition of any kind, check with that specific federation about any regulations they have surrounding CBD and other cannabinoids.  According to one horsetalk.co.nz article, Cannabidiol (CBD) and Horses:  What is it good for?:

The FEI and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) have strict rules regarding medicating horses before events. Recently, the USEF announced that as of September 1, 2019, positive test results for cannabinoids will incur violations.”

Some federations might not allow CBD at all.  When they prohibit CBD use, rely more heavily on the other tips for arthritis mitigation.  If regulations only stipulate that horses can’t have THC in their systems though, there are numerous THC-Free CBD products to choose from.  If you are able, we encourage you to try CBD for your horse’s ligament and joint health.

Where can you find CBD for Horses?

At 4 Corners Cannabis, we developed our newest THC-Free Pet Tincture with horses in mind, but it can be used for a range of livestock and working animals. We make it with organically grown hemp, and packs a punch, with concentrations of up to 14,000.00 mg of CBD per bottle.  Whether or not you’ve used our specific product, let us know what your experience with CBD for horses has been at our contact page.

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