If you've ever dabbled in horse ownership, whether outright or via a lease, you know how dedicated most owners are to keeping their horses happy and healthy. A better performance comes from a happy horse, from trails to the show ring. Plus, investing in preventative methods can keep astronomical vet bills at bay.
While there are some illnesses or injuries we can't control, it never hurts to focus on those we can. The current equine health and wellness landscape has taken a significant leap forward with the emergence of CBD for horses. CBD, which you may know as cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant.
The popularity of CBD has exploded concerning humans, with gummies and oils available at your local gas station. Its benefits for the animal community, horses included, are also becoming increasingly recognized.
This blog explores the world of CBD and its potential to change how we look at primary equine care. Are you ready to discover what CBD can do for your horse?
Understanding the Capabilities of CBD
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in humans and animals, and, you guessed it, that includes equines! The ECS is crucial in maintaining homeostasis.
This steady state requires the regulation of bodily functions, such as immune response, pain perception, and mood. CBD acts on these ECS receptors, which is why CBD makes (most of) us feel pretty good!
CBD for horses holds many potential benefits and deserves more than a second glance for horse owners or barn managers dealing with the following (typically common) issues.
Managing Equine Stress and Anxiety
Horses experience stress and anxiety in various situations. These can include, but are not limited to, transportation, isolation from their herd due to sickness or injury, or when introduced to new environments.
CBD has shown promise in reducing equine anxiety, promoting a calmer disposition, and minimizing the lasting negative impact of stressful situations. Dealing with agitation and anxiety in any horse, from the lesson pony to the world-class eventer, can be frustrating.
Nervousness can creep up even without substantial changes in daily routine or surroundings. By modulating the ECS, CBD can help horses naturally maintain a more relaxed and focused existence.
Pain Management and Inflammation
Equine athletes, working horses, and older horses often contend with joint pain, inflammation, and discomfort. While there are pharmaceutical methods for managing such pain, like standard barn anti-inflammatories (think bute, firocoxib, or banamine) , discussing other options with your veterinarian broadens your treatment options.
CBD for horses demonstrates analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially offering a natural alternative or supplement to traditional pain medications. CBD can enhance mobility and improve recovery and overall comfort for horses by alleviating pain and reducing inflammation.
Horses that struggle with arthritis and other forms of chronic pain could find great relief from adding CBD to their diets. Make sure you talk to your vet before making any dietary changes!
Promoting Digestive Health
Digestive issues can significantly impact a horse's well-being and performance. There isn't a horse enthusiast on the planet that doesn't actively dread and try to prevent an episode of colic.
Early studies suggest that CBD shows promise in supporting gastrointestinal health.
Though CBD cannot entirely prevent colic in a species biologically prone to colicking, it can assist by influencing digestive processes and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. CBD's potential anti-nausea properties can benefit horses suffering from other digestive troubles, such as gastric ulcers, as well.
Enhancing Immune Function
A robust immune system is crucial for maintaining equine health. CBD may help support the immune system by regulating immune responses, though more research is currently needed. When we foster a balanced immune function, we contribute to better health overall and improved resistance to infections and diseases.
To understand how CBD might positively affect equine immunity, it’s essential to have general knowledge concerning the immune system itself. The equine immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Early studies show that CBD can modulate immune responses in horses by:
- Providing Anti-Inflammatory Properties
- Encouraging Immune Cell Function
- Potentially Managing Auto-Immune Disorders
- Reducing Stress
Dosage and Administration
Photo by Relievet, purchase their products here.
If you're considering CBD for horses, it is essential to consult your veterinarian, as they're clearly very well-versed in equine health. Proper dosage and administration are crucial to ensure optimal results and minimize potential risks.
Purchasing your CBD for horses from a reputable, reliable source, such as Holistapet, is essential and will help you ease your safety and dosage concerns. They have a fantastic customer service team that is always more than willing to help!
Along with your veterinarian, you should receive the tailored guidance needed to administer CBD to your horse. Here are a few factors to consider:
Body Weight: CBD dosage is often based on body weight, and though it seems counterintuitive, CBD doses for horses are lower than those used in humans due to their fast metabolism. Holistapet explicitly states their dosage recommendations on the bottle.
CBD Product Concentration: Because CBD products come in various concentrations like oils, tinctures, and pellets, the amount of CBD in the product determines how much your horse will need to achieve the desired dose. Always follow manufacturer instructions, and if they’re unclear, call your vet!
Low and Slow: When it comes to CBD, we recommend starting with a low dosage and increasing it gradually over time, monitoring the response of your horse. By doing this, you can assess individual tolerance and observe potential side effects.
Consider the Purpose: The intended use of CBD in horses usually varies, whether it be for pain management, anxiety reduction, or a specific condition. The dose and frequency you give will differ based on the desired effect.
Continuous Monitoring: Every new supplement or medication requires response monitoring. When you start using CBD in regard to your equine buddy, it’s important to monitor how they respond, physically and mentally. Observe changes in behavior, appetite, or general well-being.
Remember your vet can and will help determine the appropriate CBD formulation, dosage, and administration method based on the horse's specific needs and health condition. Let them know which products you’re considering, and provide them with access to manufacturer information.
Working together will provide the best results possible for your horses!
Frequently Asked Questions: CBD for Horses
You've got questions, and we've got answers!
Q: What is CBD?
A: CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound in the cannabis plant. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, but unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-intoxicating and does not produce a "high."
Q: Can horses benefit from CBD?
A: There is growing interest in using CBD for horses, as it may benefit their well-being. CBD can play a significant role in maintaining balance and promoting homeostasis in the body, but this can vary from horse to horse.
Q: What potential benefits can CBD provide to horses?
A: While research on CBD specifically for horses is somewhat limited, anecdotal evidence and some studies (linked above) suggest that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties, help with pain management, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and support overall wellness in horses.
Q: Is CBD legal for use in horses?
A: The legal status of CBD for animals, including horses, can vary by country and region. It's essential to consult local regulations and guidelines to determine the legality of CBD use in horses in your area, particularly regarding shows, racing, or eventing.
Q: How can CBD be administered to horses?
A: CBD for horses is available in various forms, including oils, pellets, treats, and topicals. You can administer CBD orally, add it to feed, or place it directly in the horse's mouth.
Q: Are there any potential side effects of CBD for horses?
A: CBD is generally well-tolerated by horses, but individual reactions may vary. Some potential side effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, or changes in appetite. It's advisable to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it while monitoring your horse for any adverse reactions.
Deciding if CBD is Right for Your Horse
At Paddock Blade, healthy horses are of significant importance, and there's no denying that CBD can potentially offer some incredible benefits to your equine partner. CBD provides a holistic approach to general well-being, from managing stress to alleviating pain.
As ongoing research looks deeper into the effect CBD has on horses, it is crucial to stay up-to-date and continue exploring its potential applications and refining best practices. With careful consideration and expert guidance, CBD has the potential to improve the lives of our equine companions, leading to happier, healthier, and more resilient horses all around!