Integrating Complementary Medicine Into Veterinary Practice
In this episode of It’s a Dog’s Life, Angela Ardolino spoke with Dr. Bob Goldstein, founder of Earth Animal. Goldstein is the editor and an author of the textbook Integrating Complementary Medicine into Veterinary Practice published by Wiley Blackwell. This veterinary textbook introduces and familiarizes veterinarians with the terminology and procedures of complementary treatment modalities in a traditional clinical format that facilitates the easy integration of these methods into established veterinary practices.
Where East Meets West
Goldstein changed the veterinary field when he integrated Eastern and non-traditional medicine into his practice in the 1970’s. At that time, there was not much data available about the effectiveness of specific holistic treatments for animals.
“I’ve been practicing for 40 years,” says Goldstein. “I came out of veterinary school as a conventionally trained veterinarian and practiced that way for about 12 years. But the lightbulb about CBD for me went off when my own pet, Leigh, had crippling arthritis and everything that I did medically, surgically, or anything else I tried did not work. We were at the point of euthanasia because the pain was so serious and at that point, [my wife] was working with an alternative therapist for people and learned a lot. We shared that together, brought it into the practice, and were able to reverse his condition. He was 7-years-old when we did that and now he is 17.”
Goldstein started by integrating fresh juices, raw foods, supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbs into his patients’ treatment plans and saw positive results. Seemingly overnight, his practice became a beacon for pets suffering from cancer. When Goldstein began offering holistic options, CBD oil was not yet available. However, he suggested hemp seed oil for his patients who needed fatty acids in their diets because he felt it was a superior source of essential acids.
The Healing Power of CBD
Because of his success with hemp seed oil and Eastern medicine, Goldstein learned more about CBD and how it could be used for pets. He found the benefits so life-changing for pets that he launched his own line of CBD products at Global Pet Expo in 2019.
“In my experience of the last 40 years of practicing veterinary medicine, I would put the benefits of CBD way at the top,” says Goldstein. “I have, in my experience, not seen many natural substances produce the results that CBD has produced in the animals I have tested it on… CBD is very beneficial for dogs and cats suffering from chronic conditions”
However, Goldstein found that CBD is kept “hush hush” in the veterinary field. Although legislation has been passed in California which allows veterinarians to suggest CBD as treatments, there are still areas of the country where CBD and hemp products are simply not the norm. In fact, Goldstein has found that some veterinarians are afraid to recommend CBD to their patients even though more people are aware of the positive benefits for fear of punishment.
“In places like Connecticut, selling CBD in a veterinary practice can threaten their license,” says Goldstein. “But I think we are heading in the direction of being able to have more veterinarians recommend it. Studies are now being done at veterinary schools to provide the evidence-based information that more veterinarians need to be able to comfortably recommend the treatment for patients.”
In the Know About CBD
It is important to understand the difference between human medical marijuana and hemp-derived CBD for pets. The THC-level of hemp-derived CBD for pets is far lower than medical marijuana intended for human consumption. That is because if a dog eats marijuana with high THC content, the dog can become very sick. Additionally, hemp-derived CBD for pets is monitored by the NASC which works closely with the FDA.
“THC has no place in veterinary medicine,” says Goldstein. “CBD and all of the other cannabinoids that do not have the potential hallucinogenic side-effects of THC are beneficial, but THC for pets is preposterous.”
For those hoping to enter the CBD-for-pets industry, Goldstein has a word of advice: “If you can follow the guidelines of the NASC — which puts guidelines around what you can and cannot say — and most importantly tell the truth about what you are selling, I think if everyone did that, it would begin to standardize the industry. The misinformation of what is on the internet is mind-boggling so we have to self-regulate.”
The Future of Holistic Veterinary Science
The holistic pet industry is growing and Goldstein feels that the future is bright.
“Where I see the future is that there are so many cannabinoids in the plant that we don’t even know about,” says Goldstein “I think the more we do research on the additional cannabinoids, we will find more compounds that are specific for treating more diseases. If we can find a specific cannabinoid for something like cancer, that would be incredible.
With his company, Earth Animal, Goldstein continues to work on researching cannabinoids in hemp plants and is also dedicating his time to researching a meat-substitute for pets. He does not plan to retire any time soon.
To learn more about CBD, visit CBDDogHealth.com.