When Christine L’s beloved Rottweiler was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2010, she couldn’t afford chemotherapy. Between vomiting and diarrhea, her dog was soon losing two pounds a day. Desperate, she turned to the Internet. Searching for ways to alleviate her pet’s suffering, she read about the successful treatment of human cancers with cannabis, which stimulated appetite, controlled nausea and provided pain relief. Though legally available in 19 states to treat serious human illnesses including cancer, arthritis, aids, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, medical marijuana is still not approved to treat chronically ill animals.
Undeterred, Christine continued her digging and eventually uncovered a way to administer marijuana to her dog in the form of cannabis blooms mixed with coconut oil. The animal’s transformation was immediate. Unable to walk before, he soon became his bouncy self again, trotting around the house wanting to play. His weight zoomed from 64 to 106 pounds and his last year was lived free of the rehabilitating pain that had earlier wracked him.
After his death Christine shared her story online with other pet owners in the same boat. She met a California veterinarian, Dr. Doug Kramer, whose pet Husky had also suffered from cancer. Thanks to Dr. Kramer’s intervention with a homemade tincture of medical marijuana, his Husky’s final days also improved with restored appetite, less severe pain and an enhanced quality of life. Now a tireless advocate for pain control for animals, Dr. Kramer is the first vet in the country to offer medical marijuana consultations along with treatment plans for pet patients.
His practice specializes in palliative and hospice care. Though he cannot write prescriptions for medical marijuana, he can counsel pet owners about safe, effective dosage. The path he’s treading is a tricky one, but Dr. Kramer feels his first, most important allegiance is to sick animals — to ease their pain and suffering and give them the best possible life during their final days.
Do you think medical marijuana should be legal for pets?
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