A team of international researchers from Italy and Brazil published findings earlier this month in the science publication Veterinary and Animal Science in which they reported a “successful outcome of four weeks-therapy with CBD” in a clinical case involving a 22-year-old Quarter horse that was experiencing behavioral disorders.
The clinical case study was a collaboration between investigators from the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences at the University of Bologna in Italy and the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences at the University Metodista of São Paulo in Brazil.
At the heart of the study was a 22-year-old mare subject that was reportedly suffering from “chronic crib-biting and wind-sucking,” which are common behavioral disorders in horses for various reasons, including but not limited to poor welfare. According to the researchers, “Any alteration from the conditions found in nature can lead to the occurrence of some specific behaviours, called stereotypies which are characterised as repetitive, consistent patterns of behaviour usually defined as having no apparent ultimate or proximal functions.”
“According to the owner report, the mare had presented this behaviour for the past 15 years; previous clinical approaches, such as a cervical collar, environmental enhancement, diet change, and chemical tranquilizers (acepromazine 0,1 mg/kg T.I.D) were not successful.” the researchers stated in their findings.
“At anamnesis, it was revealed that the mare used to be a sport horse with an intensive training routine. Once her sports career was over, the owners retired her and kept her partially in the paddock and partially in the box (average 3 h/day at the paddock). The sport career was over at the age of 10 years old, while the behaviour disorder started at the age of 7 years old, getting progressively worse over the years.” the researchers stated about the horse that was the focus of the study.
“The horse was placed in therapy with commercially available isolated CBD 200 mg/ml at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg/daily q12h per os. The dose and frequency were determinate based on previous case report and veterinary pharmacological studies (Ellis and Contino 2021). During the therapy, there were no changes in food quality/quantity or the daily routine of the mare.” the researchers stated about the CBD treatment specifically.
“To assess the results of the therapy, the mare was followed up under constant observation, for 7 days before the therapy and then during the treatment by the veterinary team divided into shifts, which provided the number of hours spent with the stereotypy (Fig. 2a) pre- and during administration of CBD. The mare was also weighted weekly, with the first weight measured at the start of the 7 days observation period prior to therapy.” the researchers stated about assessing the subject’s treatment.
“The results after 30 days of therapy were positive and no regression in behaviour was seen by the owners after the treatment ended. To the best of the Authors’ knowledge, this is the first published case describing the successful treatment and management of a chronic crib-biting, wind-sucking horse with the oral administration of CBD, enhancing welfare and life quality.” the researchers concluded.
This may be the first study of its kind, however, it’s not the first animal science study in general. This latest study adds to a growing body of evidence which proves that just as cannabis can provide wellness benefits to humans, so too can it do the same for animals. Medical cannabis as it pertains to veterinary medicine is an emerging sector of the medical cannabis industry, and a particularly promising one at that.
According to Grand View Research the global veterinary medicine industry was worth an estimated $44.59 billion in 2022 alone.