Listen to “Individualized Treatment Plans For Pets With Dr. Trina Hazzah” on Spreaker.
When I entered the pet industry, I knew that full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) can help pets who are suffering from a variety of ailments. When I met Dr. Trina Hazzah, DVM, DACVIM, CVCH, I knew I had found someone who was as passionate about saving pets as I was.
Dr. Hazzah grew up in Washington, DC as a first-generation American from Egypt, whose family was very interested in helping animals. In fact, Dr. Hazzah’s grandmother loved animals so much that she helped Dr. Hazzah and her twin sisters sneak pet tortoises home to the states after spending summers in Egypt with her. When she was a teen, she started her own dog walking company to earn money to care for her dog, then got a job cleaning cages at a veterinary office in exchange for pet food and care. From there, Dr. Hazzah began helping the veterinarian when the tech was out and quickly realized her calling. She moved to Alabama with her dog, Otis, and attended the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University.
“From there, I did an internship at Redbank in New Jersey, I did my residency in Connecticut, and Otis came with me,” says Dr. Hazzah. “I knew I didn’t want to be a GP, because I wanted to know everything about one thing rather than know one thing about everything.”
The path to oncology
After spending time studying in Tennesee, Dr. Hazzah decided to be an oncologist, but she quickly realized there were major issues in the field.
“I loved oncology, and I still love it, but it was very hard to see these patients get sick and not be able to do much about it with the traditional medications,” says Dr. Hazzah. “I could get only but so much grasp on the cancer. I needed to do more.”
Now, Dr. Hazzah works for VCA Animal Hospital in Los Angeles, where she specializes in oncology and treatment with both Eastern and Western medicine.
“I was a Western doctor through and though with no Eastern training, because in vet school there was none of that,” says Dr. Hazzah. “In vet school, diet and nutrition was provided only by large companies who produce bags of prescription diets. We were not taught about the endocannabinoid system. That is something I had to seek out on my own.”
Does your veterinarian know about cannabis medicine?
When you go to your vet and ask about diet and nutrition, endocannabinoid system, herbs or chiropractic care, you should remember that they are not trained in veterinary school about these topics. If you find a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about those topics, they have learned these topics purposefully. For example. Dr. Hazzah became certified in Chinese herbal medicine, but through that certification became more interested in learning about western herbs, medicinal mushrooms, and the cannabis plant. Because of her interest, she sought out education so that she could discuss these options with patients.
“The number one thing to remember is, don’t judge your vet for not knowing about cannabis, herbs, or diet,” says Dr. Hazzah. “Be open-minded and compassionate because they are doing a lot and trying to keep up. It is our job, as people who are passionate about cannabis to teach them. Vets who are open to learning, we are open to teaching. If your vet is unable, whether for time or interest, that is okay because we are here to help you. No one knows the perfect combination of treatment for every pet. But, at the end of the day, it’s your pet who we care about and we want what is best.”
Is cannabis an effective treatment for cancer and other ailments for pets?
Cannabis has been used for over 4000 years to treat everything from arthritis to cancer. However, due to the prohibition of cannabis in the U.S., cannabis has not been easily available to treat serious ailments until recent years. Dr. Hazzah has used cannabis to treat her patients and has seen great success.
“Years and years ago, there was a little dog named Hammer,” says Dr. Hazzah. “He was a Jack Russel, and the owners came in and the dog had three cancers at the same time. He had low-grade lymphoma, bladder cancer, and an oral squamous cell carcinoma.”
Dr. Hazzah discussed all of the options with Hammer’s parents, and they decided quality of life was most important. They focused on targeted therapy, which was effective for about six months until it seemed to stop working as effectively.
“Around the five- or six-month mark, the oral cancer started to get so large that it took up his entire face,” says Dr. Hazzah. “The bladder cancer was getting worse, lymphoma was static. The owners went over the options again, and one of the things we discussed was cannabis. As an integrative oncologist I felt that I should guide them through the process to make sure it was safe. The dog was less than 20 pounds, so he had 1 mg of THC and 1 mg of CBD, twice a day, along with targeted therapy.”
Within two to three weeks, Hammer’s owner said his eye was starting to open a little bit more. A month after starting cannabis treatment, Hammer came in and Dr. Hazzah could not find the oral tumor at all.
“Not only could he open his eye, but when he opened his mouth, I just saw a little redness,” says Dr. Hazzah. “The tumor was not there. Hammer was happy, and this was just 1 mg. This goes back to my theory that it wasn’t the amount, it was what the cancer needed.”
Outside of oncology, veterinarians can use CBD to treat stress, anxiety, seizures, and arthritis. A lot of times, vets learn about CBD from their patients who self-wean their pets from the prescriptions and start using CBD.
Will CBD treat all cancers equally?
After healing Hammer, a passion was ignited in Dr. Hazzah to figure out which cancers respond to which compounds in cannabis. She knew that individualized care would be key to using helping pets heal naturally.
“My goal has been to find out, how do we get this down to genetic profiling for tumors, how do we match the compound with the endocannabinoid system, and how can we get the right amount for that tumor,” says Dr. Hazzah. “We have to look at genetics at the level of the patient and their endocannabinoid system. [With genetic testing and research] we can use cannabis as medicine.”
Full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) can be used to treat tumors, both orally and topically. Malignant tumors should have both topical and internal full spectrum hemp extract (CBD).
“I always say to people, what’s the worst that can happen — they stare at the wall for a while if they get too much?” says Dr. Hazzah. “But, what’s the worst that my chemo can do? Much worse than that. And you can use cannabis to help balance the side effects of chemotherapy and other western treatment.”
To learn more about using cannabis for tumors and cancer in dogs, visit www.drtrinahazzah.com, or make an appointment at VCA West LA. To find a holistic vet in your area, visit AHVMA.com. To learn more about full spectrum hemp extract (CBD), visit www.cbddoghealth.com.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is passionate about animals and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief to pets of all ages and breeds. Ardolino has worked with animals for over 20 years and operates Fire Flake Farm, a rescue farm in Lutz, FL. A medical cannabis expert, Ardolino holds a degree in the therapeutic uses of cannabis from the University of Vermont School of Medicine and is the founder of CBD Dog Health. Combining her background in broadcast journalism and her passion for pets, Ardolino is the host of a pet-centric podcast, “It’s a Dog’s Life” on Cannabis Radio. Additionally, she is the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and spa. Ardolino has five dogs and up to 10 residing on her farm who she is fostering or boarding. Visit www.AngelaArdolino.com and www.CBDDogHealth.com to learn more.
About Dr. Trina Hazzah
Individualized treatment plans for pets with Dr. Trina Hazzah. As a board-certified veterinary oncologist, Dr. Hazzah has transitioned from strictly conventional medicine to an integrative medicine approach that combines evidence-based medicine from both Eastern and Western philosophies. She believes that every dog or cat is unique in their makeup and disease process and therefore, requires individualized treatment plans. Dr. Hazzah is one of only a handful of integrative oncologists in the country that are trained in both Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as conventional medicine which provide her with a special set of tools to customize treatment plans for every patient.