cbd oil good for anemic cats

CBD Oil For Dogs And Cats With Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

Anemia is a life-threatening condition in both dogs and cats. In this condition, the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells (RBC), which is responsible for distributing oxygen to organs and tissues. Oxygen is important to brain function and without sufficient supply, the brain may cease to operate, which can cause all bodily functions to stop.

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Autoimmune hemolytic anemia or AIHA is a disorder of the immune system. The body naturally produces antibodies to fight harmful foreign agents, but in the case of AIHA (particularly in secondary AIHA cases), the “foreign agent” being destroyed is actually a natural component of the blood.

When there isn’t enough oxygen being supplied to the organs due to not having sufficient RBCs, anemia develops.

AIHA is the most common autoimmune disease among dogs. Other autoimmune diseases include those that cause skin disorders. Some of them also get Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia.

Cats also get the lupus erythematosus. They also suffer from autoimmune diseases like polyarthritis, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and pemphigus which causes crusted erosions on the cat’s skin.


There are two types: idiopathic (primary) AIHA and the other type is designated as the “secondary” type.

The term “idiopathic” implies that the cause of the disease is not known. In AIHA classification of types, it is idiopathic when the natural production of antibodies is triggered by the need of the body to kill the natural RBCs that the body itself also produces. In this particular type, the rate with which the RBCs are annihilated is faster than the rate of production. Thus, with the condition, it is impossible for the body to reach the normal amount of RBC needed.

On the other hand, secondary AIHA is characterized by an alteration on the surface portion of the red blood cells, where the change may have been brought about by an already existing disease, a toxic agent or the use of certain drugs.

This modified appearance in the RBC creates something that is unfamiliar in the body’s blood composition, thus calling the attention of the immune system to check it out and do something about it. The immune system then recognizes the altered RBCs as foreign invaders and therefore must be destroyed.

The liver suffers in the process. Once RBCs are eliminated, the body is induced to produce large amounts of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in RBCs. The liver’s task is to break down excess levels of hemoglobin, which means increasing the workload of this organ.

In dogs, the most common causes of secondary AIHA is cancer and neoplasia. When these conditions are present accompanied by stressful events that the body may experience, AIHA can easily take shape.


As of the moment, little is known about the primary type of AIHA, which means experts don’t have any idea of how it can be totally prevented. Simply said, inherited types of hemolytic anemia can’t be prevented or there is no known prevention yet.

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There are hopes that the secondary type can be avoided and research is being conducted to identify ways that this can be successfully achieved.

Environmental factors are among those being investigated as potential triggers of the disease.

Sometimes, the trigger is clearly identified such as reaction to drugs like sulfonamide, but in most cases, what researchers have is suspicion or guesses. That’s the case with associations established in the case of babesiosis, cancer and bee stings. What has been established with these possible triggers is just association, without evidence of causality.


Your dog or cat suffering from AIHA may be exhibiting some of the following:

  • Frequent urination
  • Tachycardia
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dark stool
  • Paleness in the gums, eyelids and the underside of the ears
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse
  • Nose bleeding
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Dyspnea
  • Decreases ability to exercise


For dogs, the survival rate is from 20% – 50%. It is actually not the anemic condition that will kill your pet, but the complications that result from AIHA. The most fatal of these complications is the thromboembolic disease characterized by formation of blood clots in blood vessels.

According to recent research, the survival rate for cats with AIHA is higher, placed at 76.5%.


Some of things you can do to naturally treat or reduce symptoms are the following:

  • Transition to clean raw diet – Also you can use lightly cooked food
  • Control and regulate the inflammatory processes – This is a key factor in treating the disease.
  • Immune system support – Vitamin C, Mushrooms and Zinc can be helpful in this regard.
  • Liver/bowel cleansing – to help remove toxins from the body

It is important to also consider the therapeutic effects of CBD oil for pets. CBD can be considered as an effective alternative to traditional medications or in combination with supplements that you currently use. This is because CBD oil is safe for animals and perform a very important task in treating many types of diseases.

Your pet has cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, the central nervous system, and the immune system. Using hemp-derived CBD oil allows stimulation of these receptors with effects on pain sensation, appetite, digestion, and mood.


Recommended dosage for dogs is 0.2 mg of CBD per lb of weight. For cats with weight ranging from 4 lbs to 6 lbs, a maximum of 0.8 mg can be administered per day.

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CBD for Anemia – March 2022

Anemia occurs when the body lacks enough hemoglobin on red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the tissues. Having anemia can make one feel weak and tired.

There are many forms of anemia, and each has a different cause. The condition can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.

Anemia can also manifest as a warning sign of a severe illness. When left untreated, anemia can cause severe fatigue, pregnancy complications, heart problems, or death.

Treatments for anemia can range from taking supplements, such as iron, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin C, to undergoing medical procedures.

Individuals may be able to prevent some types of anemia by eating a healthy diet consistently high in iron, vitamin B-12, and folate (1 ) .

CBD for Anemia: What The Research Says

CBD has been shown to possess therapeutic benefits that might help with symptoms or conditions linked to some types of anemia.

Although further longitudinal research is needed to validate the results of those studies, the potential benefits of CBD as an alternative for managing symptoms cannot be overlooked.

CBD Oil and Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a disorder that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body (2 ) .

People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape.

Sickle cell anemia can cause the pain linked to an accumulation of misshapen red blood cells in the microscopic capillaries. Also, pain can occur from poor oxygenation of the tissues.

In some cases, individuals with sickle cell anemia are prompted to take potent opioid painkillers to manage the pain.

Unfortunately, opioid therapy, often used for this condition, can lead to dependence or addiction, as indicated in a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (3 ) .

A questionnaire study published in the British Journal of Haematology examined cannabis use in sickle cell disease (4 ) .

52% of those who used marijuana to treat symptoms of the disorder used it to reduce the pain associated with the condition. Meanwhile, 77% said they used it for relaxation or sedation purposes.

A study used an animal model to look at how cannabinoids can be effective at treating the pain from sickle cell anemia (5 ) .

In this study, cannabinoids were shown to reduce neuropathic or nerve-related inflammation involved with sickle cell disease in mice.

Although the studies did not focus on CBD use, the results can be used to develop oral cannabinoids in treating acute sickle cell pain.

CBD Oil and Iron Deficiency Anemia

CBD itself has little effect on iron deficiency anemia. However, hemp seed oil that is often used as a carrier oil in these products is a natural source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc (6 ) .

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Typically, the doses of hemp seed oil used for CBD oil are only a few milliliters per day. For instance, in 100 mL of hemp seed oil, there may be about 8 mg of iron.

The National Institute Of Health says the daily requirements for iron in adults between 19 and 50 years old is 8 mg/day for men, and 18 mg/day in women (7 ) .

The American Society of Hematology recommends taking 150-200 mg of iron each day, or 2 to 5 mg of iron for every kilogram of body weight per day (8 ) .

That much iron is the equivalent of about 1.9 L of hemp seed oil per day, which is an outrageous and unreasonable amount for an individual to take in a day.

Thus, given the modest amounts of iron that can be obtained from hemp seed oil, it is best to stick to iron supplements and other highly-concentrated sources of iron, such as dark leafy vegetables, tofu, and red meat.

CBD for Anemia Symptoms

Iron deficiency anemia can be very mild that, oftentimes, it goes unnoticed. However, as the body becomes deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify.

  • Fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, or chest pain , dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances
  • Poor appetite

Meanwhile, studies have shown that CBD can help with these symptoms.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology , drastic cannabidiol or CBD administration suppressed irregular heartbeat caused by ischemia-induced heart arrhythmias (inadequate blood supply in the heart) (10 ) . Thus, CBD provides the heart with protection.

A 2014 review from the European Journal of Pharmacology established the potential of cannabis to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting from a wide range of causes (11 ) .

CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (12 ) .

In the said study, CBD has been shown to work directly with the cannabinoid receptors of the body to help suppress inflammation.

In an animal study published in the PLOS One Journal, it was shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act (13 ) .

Meanwhile, a study on the relationship between cannabinoids and food intake suggested that endocannabinoids could impact energy balance and food intake within the brain (14 ) .


To date, there has been no study that says CBD can directly help improve anemic conditions.

Most of CBD’s benefits for anemia is only for the alleviation of the symptoms linked to anemia, rather than the condition itself.

CBD is non-addictive, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a 2015 article (15 ) . This characteristic makes CBD safe for daily intakes, like a supplement.