I have been a longtime advocate of using nutraceutical dietary supplements and natural herbs, such as cannabis, in veterinary practices, and have called for more research and evidence-based clinical studies in this area.
Cannabis helps animals in many ways, such as with chronic pain, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety and depression -- as it does with humans with similar conditions. The tried-and-true complex of phyto-pharmaceuticals in cannabis can provide relief from other maladies, including epilepsy and early dementia. Government opposition on behalf of the multinational synthetic drug industry -- with its patented monopolies and, especially in the U.S., price-gouging and putting profits before ethics -- is criminal. Fortunately, many natural phyto-pharmaceuticals, such as cumin, turmeric, ginger and aloe vera, are immune from such control because they are available in grocery stores.
In my opinion, if medical cannabis were available and consumption legalized, we would not have our current synthetic opioid epidemic, and would also see less crime. Visit greenmedinfo.com for more insights, specifically the article by Dr. Jeffrey Dach entitled “Medical Marijuana and Cannabis Research Suppressed.”
“Although cannabis was a medicinal plant for thousands of years, its medical use was suppressed and banned throughout most of the 20th century,” writes Dach. “Banned in England, Canada and the U.S. in the 1930s, medical cannabis represents the first casualty in a war against natural medicine waged by the pharmaceutical industry.”
It should be a misdemeanor for anyone to give cannabis to their animal companions without veterinary sanction, especially in the states where recreational use is now legalized.
DEAR DR. FOX: Pursuant to your advice to an older couple to seek out an older dog for adoption, we searched many shelters for an older dog that met our desires, but were not successful.
With the guidance of the local SPCA counselor, my wife and I adopted a 32-pound, 1½-year-old terrier mix (possibly with a little pit bull) from a highly reputable local ASPCA four weeks ago. He developed a “kennel cough” a few days after we adopted him. After several vet visits, he seems to be fine now, healthwise. With the cough, we kept him isolated from other people and dogs, with a few exceptions. A neighbor and a friend came into the house at different times, and he was as affectionate and playful with them as with us.
We finally took him to the park last week and he seemed very comfortable with passersby, both adults and children. However, he became extremely excited when seeing other dogs. He pulled very hard on the leash while strenuously barking at any and all dogs. He actually barks when he hears barking, even on the TV.
Last night, we brought him to an ASPCA training session, but he would only bark and strain the leash around the other dogs. One of the trainers started to work with him, but could not distract him effectively during this first session. This is a challenge, since we want to take him for long walks at the park and beach. We’ve never had this experience before. Any suggestions? -- S.C., Ocean Township, New Jersey
DEAR S.C.: You adopted an adolescent, who is just maturing enough to start defending/declaring his territory by barking, but also desperately wanting to play with other dogs.
Barking at dogs and other animals he sees on TV is part of this behavior that you can reward with a pat on the head, reassuring him that it’s OK. Then tell him, “sit, quiet” and give him a treat when he complies. Alternatively, give him a squeaky toy to chase after you throw it. Redirecting is another form of behavior modification.
His barking when he sees other dogs while on the leash, I interpret as excitement. If you pull on the leash and discipline him, he may overexcite and misinterpret your behavior as inciting him to be aggressive, or he may develop a negative association to seeing other dogs when on the leash.
I think it essential at this time that he gets into a playgroup: off-leash, with other friendly dogs, and of course closely supervised. Many dogs on the leash feel restrained and therefore vulnerable, so time off-leash with another friendly dog or two is what this young dog needs. He needs to be a dog and engage in play-fighting, chasing and other interactive games, such socialization being critical for his well-being.
It may be wise to keep the leash attached to his collar initially, since you may need to pull him away if things get too rough before he learns the art of playing with other dogs.
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