• Shelby McDaniel

Can CBD Help Improve the Quality of Life For a Cat with FeLV?

While I was in college, we adopted a kitten named Lily. Lily was born with Feline Leukemia and as a result, was small for her age and only lived about 9 months before we had to make the tear-filled decision to put her down.

I remember her trouble breathing and sitting with her in my arms on the floor of the bathroom while the shower ran and created steam. It was the only thing that would seem to help. Lily's energy had been declining for a while and I knew she was in pain. So I had the dreaded talk with my roommate, who later left the day of the appointment, leaving me to take Lily to the vet alone.

It was by far the worse experience I had ever dealt with. The nurse that set up the appointment berated me for making the decision to put Lily down rather than spend thousands on treatments that would only prolong her poor quality of life. When I sat with my little cat in the vet's office, I asked the vet what would happen.

"She'll slowly go to sleep." He replied. I could deal with that.

However, she dropped the moment he injected her with the syringe. I caught her on instinct, shocked into numbness. This was the exact opposite of what I expected to happen. And all the vet said was "Oh."

I thankfully had a friend with me who drove me back while I held my little cat in my arms and cried. Even six years later, I still get bleary-eyed while telling this story.

According to Cornell University, "Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most common infectious diseases in cats, affecting between 2 and 3% of all cats in the United States. Infection rates are significantly higher (up to 30%) in cats that are ill or otherwise at high risk."

Symptoms of FeLV include loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, and seizures. In an article published by Medical News Today, researchers reported, "Animal research from 2011 suggests that CBD may help with nausea because of its interaction with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a hormone that affects well-being, mood, and behavior."

Another article published by Today's Veterinary Nurse magazine, a study conducted by the Department of Clinical Sciences at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University in Fort Collins " investigated the potential benefits of CBD in treating idiopathic seizures in dogs, a study funded by Applied Basic Science Corporation.2 Though the study group was small—16 subjects—the results found a significant 89% reduction in seizure frequency in dogs receiving CBD at 2.5 mg/kg q12h compared to a 43% reduction in the control group."

While research points towards pet formulated CBD as a potential aid in helping your FeLV-positive kitty live a better quality of life, it is always encouraged to talk with your vet first. Just like humans, CBD impacts each animal uniquely. Everything from weight to prescription medication can impact the effects of CBD on the body.

Feline Leukemia is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I still my Lily every day and wish CBD could have been available to help improve the quality of her short life. Scientific research is making strides in the benefits of cannabinoids, especially CBD, and maybe someday it can help be a part of the solution to erase FeLV from existence.

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