Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: Holistic Treatment

Treating autoimmune disease in dogs with CBD oil

treating autoimmune disease in dogs with cbd oilAs an option now being explored by dog owners and veterinarians alike,  understanding why CBD oil can be so effective for treatment requires a brief exploration into the nature of the immune system, how it works, and its best means of support. Finding the best CBD oil for dogs is a matter of finding the best producer.

Autoimmune disease in dogs is a result of their immune system losing its ability to distinguish between normal and foreign cells. This misperception causes the immune system to attack otherwise healthy cells. The effect is a degradation of whatever system is under siege. Diseases related to autoimmunity can affect any system in your dog’s body.

One of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases found in dogs is autoimmune thyroiditis, an epidemic among canines.

In the case of autoimmune thyroiditis, the immune system misperceives healthy thyroid gland cells as foreign bodies and begins killing them. The thyroid is a gland that secretes crucial hormones that, among other important functions, help to regulate metabolism and body temperature. Once enough healthy cells are gone, the thyroid becomes incapable of producing hormones and symptoms begin to show.

Early symptoms of autoimmune thyroiditis are subtle and can mimic those of other diseases. Most commonly reported telltale signs include weight gain, digestive disorders and behavioral changes.

While the causes of autoimmune thyroiditis in dogs are debated among researchers and veterinarians, a few suspects that have risen to the top, including:


A recent MSU study revealed that certain breeds are more likely to develop autoimmune thyroiditis and that breeding is at least partially responsible for the epidemic. Additionally, dogs that possess one or more autoimmune diseases are prone to develop other ones. Autoimmune diseases are self-perpetuating.


The same study showed a prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis in populations that had been vaccinated for various ailments. While vaccines can be effective for preventing disease, vaccines can also render you dog’s immune system hyperactive; possibly resulting in an autoimmune disease.


Some veterinarians argue that the use of collars instead of harnesses can cause autoimmune thyroiditis. The location of the thyroid gland is in the throat. Continuous irritation results in an inflammatory response and the immune system kicks-in to rectify the situation. Continued collar use results in continuous irritation, which shifts the immune system into overdrive and autoimmune thyroiditis can be the result.

CBD and Inflammation

Many of the symptoms for which CBD oil is being used to treat include a component of inflammation. Joint pain, skin rashes and swelling are all examples of an inflammatory response.

Inflammation is a condition often shared by autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases alike. For instance, the conditions of arthritis, encephalitis, and lupus are all inflammatory in nature. Therefore, treatments that are anti-inflammatory can effectively alleviate symptoms and potentially reverse the condition.

CBD oil (made from hemp) is among the most potent, naturally occurring anti-inflammatories known to date and research continues to show how effective it can be on your dog’s overall health. The buck doesn’t stop at inflammation. CBD oil has been shown to help manage pain and seizures, alleviate cancer symptoms, increase mobility and decrease anxiety—to name only a few uses for CBD oil for dogs.

Why is CBD oil so effective for dogs?

CBD oil is a plant source of cannabinoids that can act as a booster for your dog’s own endocannabinoid system and can help support all its functions.

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system. Functions the endocannabinoid system support include appetite, memory, stress response, sleep, body temperature and the immune system.

Cannabinoids are the building blocks of the endocannabinoid system and are naturally occurring substances in your dog’s body.

Perhaps the most important systems CBD can support are the central nervous system (which includes stress response) and the immune system. These two systems work together to keep your dog in a state of homeostasis (or balance) and CBD oil helps lubricate both.

The best CBD oil for autoimmune disease in dogs

Introducing CBD into your dog’s diet early in life helps to establish a healthy foundation. Treating a condition that is already advanced is a lot harder than preventing it in the first place. As the saying goes, “the best offence is a good defence”.

The market is now flooded with a multitude of CBD products. Ointments, salves, lotions (to name just a few) are among topical CBD products now available. On the ingestible side of CBD there are pills, edibles, oils and tinctures.

Sorting through them all and finding the right fit for your dog can feel overwhelming. Topicals can be effective when used directly on conditions like skin rashes and inflamed joints. The problem with topicals is that the symptom is being treated and not the underlying cause.

The best CBD for dogs comes in the form of ingestible products sourced from a reputable manufacturer. For convenience some producers have created dog treats, which is a great way to introduce CBD into your dog’s diet. The results can be profound and are worth exploring.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained or made available through the ColoradoDog website is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice or veterinary advice.

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