Canna Companion event and pet related holiday information.

Lilies and Cats

 

Please note a faux lily plant was used for this photograph.

The beginning of Spring just arrived and with it comes a significant hazard for our feline friends: Lilies. While there are plenty of plants which are toxic to cats, we often find that many people are unaware lilies are among them. Beyond that, they don’t just cause simple GI upset like some plants might. Lilies can be deadly to cats.

It is important to know that, for the purposes of this, we are discussing specifically the members of the Lilium family. There are many plants which are called lily without falling into that classification. Some of these, such as the peace lily or calla lily, are still toxic but usually with less severe effects often limited to drooling & GI upset. Others, such as the canna lily or plantain lily (hosta), are non-toxic. 

Pictured below: Lilium (true lily), Peace lily, Calla lily, Canna lily & Plantain lily.

 

Ingestion of true lilies can cause renal failure in a cat and even result in death; as little as a few grains of pollen have been seen to cause this effect. For many plants, we know the toxic compounds that cause whatever the resulting symptoms are. With lilies, however, the specific substance is unknown. Additionally, many plants only produce toxins in specific parts of the plant; true lilies produce their toxic principle in all parts, from the roots and bulbs to the petals and leaves. This is true even in minuscule amounts. 

Example of true lily belonging to genus Lilium. Not safe for cats.

Should your cat get into true lilies, it is important that you contact your veterinarian or local emergency veterinary hospital and get your pet treated immediately. Lily ingestion is absolutely an emergency and should be treated as such; do not wait until the next morning. If aggressive IV fluids are administered within a few hours of ingestion, the kidneys can sometimes be spared. The combination of an extremely low toxic “dose” and the severity of the resultant toxicity mean that we always advise not having lilies in any household where there are cats, including those which are less or non-toxic.

 

That’s the best way to keep your feline friends safe.

Thanksgiving Food Safety for Your Pets

As we approach another food-focused holiday, especially one where friends and family are about, it’s important to make sure everyone knows what is and what is not safe for the furry friends who will inevitably be about the table.  While most of the concerns do center around the foods available, there are also concerns of comfort any time there is a major event. 

If you do have many people coming and going, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a space set up where your pets feel comfortable relaxing. Preferably, this will be somewhere that will keep them away from the door while people are coming and going, so you don’t need to worry about any escapees.  If your pet is anxious with a houseful of friends and family, Canna Companion may help alleviate situational anxieties.  And when things move on to the main event, keep in mind the following restrictions, being sure to let your guests know as well.

 

Prohibited Foods

High fat foods: as many Thanksgiving items are, high fat meals can cause numerous problems for pets, especially pancreatitis and GI upset.   Make sure you don’t give them any turkey skin or gravy from the table. If you cook with a lot of butter, keep that in mind when offering tasty treats. 

Bones: be sure to keep bones away from your pets as they’re a serious choking hazard and can even perforate intestines, especially when cooked. 

Onions: onions can garlic can be problematic as well, so no green bean casserole or stuffing either. 

Alcohol: a lot of people go through a fair amount of alcohol in their cooking or on their table, and this all definitely needs to be kept from the four-legged members of the family.

Chocolate: dark chocolate is bad enough on its own, but now with so many people trying low carb diets, it’s even more crucial to keep pets away from all sweets, as many may contain xylitol.

Other hazards:  fruit and spices like raisins and nutmeg often appear at the dinner table and are best left for human consumption.

Healthy Foods
If you’d like to include your dog or cat in the tradition, consider making them their own plate.  Some will want to dine alone in a quiet spot, while others will think having their own place on the dining room floor is just dandy.  (Just don’t let them beg for additional items once their meal is finished.)  

The following items are good options (skip the seasoning as its too salty for pets):

  • White meat turkey, cooked or raw, deboned, deskinned
  • Sweet potatoes, cooked
  • Green beans, cooked
  • Carrots, cooked or raw
  • Pumpkin, cooked
  • Gravy made especially for them

 

Additionally, make sure to be wary of pets moving through the kitchen while cooking as they can serve as fine tripping hazards.  With all these things in mind, you can have a very happy Thanksgiving for yourself and all your friends and family, furry or otherwise.

National Cat Day

NATIONAL CAT DAY: October 29, 2019

Celebrate all things cat and spoil your fur baby a little more on National Cat Day.  We cannot say enough about our love of cats and all the wonderful things they bring to our lives: unconditional love and companionship in the form of fur, purrs, cuddles and the occasional bit of mischief.  Buy them a new toy; give them something extra delicious to eat; or just set aside extra time to spend with them. In other words, love your cat as the human servant you are! That love can be the most powerful tool you have to keep her happy, and recent studies show the bond which develops is no different from human children to their parents. Domesticated cats crave human attention and crave receiving it from their pet parents. 

Often the most effective way of keeping your indoor cat happy is to just lavish attention. Snuggle pet, and play with your cat every day.  This not only strengthens the bond between you two, it also helps you watch out for any changes in behavior which could indicate something is off. Plus, keeping your favorite feline on her toes helps prevent boredom and weight issues from lack of activity, and it goes a long way towards reducing emotional stressors.  If you do notice something amiss, hemp supplements like Canna Companion, may help get your kitty back on track. 

 

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR INDOOR CAT HAPPY AND HEALTHY.

  1.       An active cat is a happy cat.  It is easy for an indoor cat to go stir crazy if they cannot get out internal energy. There are toys that look like mice, toys with feathers, battery-powered toys with flashing light and sound, laser pointers, toys that move and the simple toys on strings.  Watch what your kitty pounces on most, and get toys which mimic that behavior. Rotate the toys to keep her even more entertained.  
  2.       Help your cat model some of their natural hunting instinct by hiding their favorite treats around the house. Use special cat treat toys which make your cat work to extract the reward thus offering hours of mental stimulation.  Play toss the treat using dehydrated meats and watch your cat skitter down the hallway in hot pursuit. 
  3.       Consider getting a second cat as a companion. Having a buddy to run and play with can go a long way in keeping indoor cats happy and stimulated.  This tip is usually best limited to younger cats who need another set of teeth and claws to play with, or for those extreme extroverts that could tire a toddler. 
  4.       Spay and Neuter.  Always spay and neuter your cats as hormones can be drive them to try to escape outside to try and find a mate.  By spaying and neutering, this added stress is eliminated while at the same time eliminating any chance that it could contribute to the unwanted cat population.  Removing those hormones also drastically reduces some forms of cancer; breast (mammary gland) cancer is one whose risk drops dramatically in spayed and neutered cats. 

National Pit Bull Awareness Day

National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is October 26, 2019.  This is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about pit bulls and their responsible owners. NPBAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which people and their dogs live, and it is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

 We all can make a difference in our own way. We all can and should play a part in correcting false information and changing the perception of these incredible dogs. We are their voice, and they are depending on us to educate the public (not only about the breed in general, but with respect to responsible ownership practices), to dispel the false information out there, and to restore their reputation as a great American icon. Leading by example is a great place to start!

Extending the National Pit Bull Awareness celebration to year round education is a great opportunity for shelters, breed clubs, and rescue organizations to spotlight the breed with adoption, education, and responsible ownership events in multiple communities and venues!  Since its designation in 2011, we’ve been thrilled to see so many shelters and rescues across the country hosting events during the entire month of October, with the hope that the spirit of National Pit Bull Awareness Day is carried all year through.  

Through education and compassion, we will bring about a positive change for these incredible dogs!

Halloween Hazards for Your Furry Friends

Halloween is fast approaching with all its attendant delights, treats, and scares. There are a number of things we can do to enjoy this holiday while keeping our pets safe. 

 

Most of us are familiar with the fact that chocolate is hazardous for both dogs and cats, but that isn’t the only thing in your treat bag you need to keep away from them. Many peanut butters, gums, and sugar free candies are sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic and can cause precipitous drops in blood sugar, among other issues. And don’t even think of passing off those raisins that you didn’t want. They can cause acute kidney failure in both dogs and cats. The bags or pails themselves can also be a hazard. Some pets will get caught in them and can get scared or risk strangulation. And some will ingest the bags, leading to possible foreign body obstructions. Best to get your furry friend their own treats and make sure to keep all of yours well away from them.

 

Be sure to keep your pets inside. All pets, but particularly black cats, are at risk for cruel “pranks” on this day. It is unfortunate and hard for many of us to believe, but it does happen. Also darker colored pets are at greater risk of getting run over on a night when many are out and about. The best option is to keep them indoors. However, even indoors there are things to watch out for. Be careful with all decorations, especially open flames, food items (jack o’lanterns and corn), and webbing. Make sure to keep these elevated and away from where an excited or nervous pet might get caught in them, eat them, or knock them over. Anything that isn’t a normal part of their environment can be a potential hazard, including wires and cords. Keep your pet in mind when planning your decor.

 

If you dress your pet up, there are a number of things that you should be wary of. First, give your pet time to adjust to the costume in advance. If it’s making them unhappy, don’t do it. Make sure all parts of the costume fit properly, nothing can be chewed off, and that it doesn’t interfere with their normal movement. Never leave your pet unattended in their costume, and make costume sessions brief. Get a few quick photos or walk them through their local pet supply store for a treat, then remove the costume and put it away.

 

If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of trick-or-treaters, or even if you don’t but know your pet is sensitive to unfamiliar people or sounds, it is best to keep them somewhere safe and away from the front door. Strangers, especially small ones, can quickly overwhelm nervous pets, and the constant opening and closing of the door provides a lot of escape opportunities. Give your pet a safe space, similar to what you might offer on the 4th of July or New Year’s. Keep a comfortable bed in there, a blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you, a white noise machine, and plenty of water. Canna Companion can also help support your pet on this stressful day.

 

Lastly, ensure your pet has identification (even multiple forms if possible). That way, if they do get out, they are more likely to find their way back to you. Double check their tag has your current contact information at least 2 weeks prior to the holiday so you can update it if you need to. If they are microchipped, it is also very important to check and make sure the information connected with that microchip is correct and up to date.

 

A few simple precautions can help ensure a Happy Halloween for the entire family!

Canna Companion Attends ACVIM

Veterinary Cannabis Researchers at ACVIM 2019

Recently a number of our staff were in Phoenix, AZ attending the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum. The ACVIM Forum is a conference for veterinary professionals which offers continuing education on the latest scientific research in the industry via numerous lectures by specialists, as well as extensive networking opportunities. The ACVIM Forum was first held in New Orleans in 1983 and had 350 attendees. Today it has grown to more than 3,000 attendees and offers over 450 hours of continuing education credit.

As a company focused on education surrounding cannabis use in veterinary medicine, we believe our attendance is important so that we may provide professionals with an understanding of the science behind this novel therapy. Through that education process, we help them feel comfortable recommending it to their clients. We aim to bridge the gap between the needs of these professionals and a ground-based movement wherein their clients are using cannabis-based products on their pets before Western research and education have provided this support. Canna Companion’s annual attendance helps:

  • Provide education
  • Serve as a resource for them and their clients
  • Offer a consistent and clean hemp product line specifically designed for use in companion animals
  • Encourage conversations between medical professionals.

We also learn a lot from the lectures and the conversations with attendees. This year some of the interesting topics we learned about include the endocannabinoid system (ECS) physiology, observed patient responses, and legal restrictions on veterinarians with regards to cannabis-based therapies. With regard to the ECS we learned the research community understands we more about it than most previously thought… and realize just how little we understand as whole. Not an uncommon situation for scientists! We were informed by attendees that even if they didn’t recommend it, they do see improvements in their patients whose pet parents elect to administer a hemp-based products, including our own. Lastly, we learned while some states prohibit doctors from discussing the pros and cons of cannabis supplementation, others simply state that prescriptions may not be written for marijuana or CBD derived from marijuana due to its schedule 1 status. We intend to contact such states’ veterinary boards to help educate them on the topic.

Among our many conversations with attendees, one that stood out was when an ultrasound technician came up to let us know our product had helped her dog with osteosarcoma, a nasty type of bone cancer. Her beloved friend was able to maintain quality of life for four months allowing their bond to shine bright. While we were saddened to hear of the dog’s passing, she felt like she had time to adjust and say goodbye, all while not having to watch her best friend suffer. That is our primary goal: to support the ECS in such a way as to relieve suffering and improve the human-animal bond. We then began a lively discussion regarding her current pup who is in need of GI and immune system support.

Our favorite part of the conference was getting to explain our philosophy of supporting the ECS as it functions normally, using ratios and entourage effect, to help our patients feel better using lower doses. We do not need to use doses currently reported in canine-centric literature as our products provide a balanced assortment of compounds the ECS can use more efficiently with fewer adverse side effects (e.g. elevated ALP, which we have not had reported in 20 years of administering these compounds to dogs and cats). There were several lectures on ECS normal function and we were heartened the information we provided was also provided in the lecture hall; our peers listened intently and asked intelligent questions – education at its best!

We always enjoy an opportunity wherein we may both receive and provide education on this increasingly common therapy. We look forward to attending next year’s ACVIM Forum in Baltimore, MD.

Anniversary Letter from Canna Companion CEO Sarah Brandon, DVM

Celebrate Canna Companion's 5 year anniversary with a sale!

Dear Canna Companion Pet Parents, Colleagues, and Partners,

It’s hard to believe five years have passed since Canna Companion’s inception. It has been fascinating being both an observer and participant at the crossroads of the veterinary medicine, animal supplement, and cannabis industries.

Allow me to introduce you to Riley!

Riley First Dog using CBD and Hemp

Here is Riley, pictured playing with his favorite Kong toy.

Riley was our very first cannabis patient (my own pet) and forever altered the way a small group of licensed veterinary professionals practiced medicine. Riley was a Rottweiler that came to be a research subject at the end of winter in 2000 seeking mobility support. Within a few hours of administering a small amount of cannabis to Riley, we began to observe significant improvement in his mobility. Naturally, we began to question the role cannabis may play in Riley’s joint support. As a result, we began to study the endocannabinoid receptor system and its function in veterinary medicine.

We continued to administer cannabis to our pets while keeping track of all responses in journals. What started out as a simple observational test to hopefully improve the quality of life of one pet, ultimately led our small team in Oklahoma to a journey we’re continuing to this day in Washington.

When we moved to Washington in 2002, where medical marijuana was legal, we continued our studies with Lisa Anderson, an experienced and dedicated licensed veterinary technician, using CBD-heavy strains. Our years of documenting the use of measured amounts of state-tested products to our personal pets, fosters, friends’ pets, and eventually patients, all without getting them high, led to the development of what-is-now Canna Companion’s proprietary database that thousands of patients and their pet parents helped build.

As the database grew, it revealed patterns that helped us determine what would be effective for companion animals. Soon after, we realized it was time to share our knowledge with other veterinary professionals. In early 2014, we channeled our scientific background to form a company that produces high-quality products to reach a larger patient population. Hemp was our clear answer to meet regulatory demands and online sales began in March 2014.

Some customs from our experience of managing veterinary clinics transferred to Canna Companion. Our early clients dutifully filled out intake forms prior to purchasing our hemp products. We meticulously filled each capsule by hand, storing them in green Mason jars until orders came in. As clinicians, we followed up with our clients, offered consultative recommendations, and tweaked our formula to what it is today.

Without the input of our pioneering clients, we would not be here today.

Capsule Machine for Quality Cannabis Products

As a company founded by licensed veterinary professionals, Canna Companion’s aim is to be a source of education for pet parents and veterinary professionals with regards to the endocannabinoid system, and the functions our products can play in the lives of their animals. We have created a culture which honors the Veterinarian’s Oath, extending that obligation into the products we produce and expectations for industry standards.

Since 2014, we’ve celebrated many accomplishments, including:

  • Collaborating with the Food and Drug Administration and National Animal Supplement Council on good manufacturing practices and compliance.
  • Launching three product lines for three unique uses, consistent with findings from our database for cats and dogs.
  • Hiring a talented team from across the country who are passionate about our company goals.
  • Cultivating a culture of compassion for those we serve and commitment in providing high quality products that any veterinary professional would be willing to use on their own pet.
  • Distributing hemp products across the country to help as many companion animals as possible.

Our greatest accomplishments, however, are the ones our clients share with us. It brings real, unadulterated joy when clients relate stories showing how our products deepen the bond with their pets.

Kitten Chops Cat Benefits CBD and Hemp

As the cannabis industry steps out of prohibition in the coming years, our commitment to professionals and pet owners is to:

  • Continue being your trusted source in veterinary cannabis education.
  • Deliver quality products consistent with that education.
  • Navigate the regulatory landscape to ensure the support of your pet’s endocannabinoid system.

As a way of thanking you for being part of this journey, Canna Companion will be holding its first sale ever! Don’t forget to use the coupon code 5YEAR to receive 10% off your next order. The code is valid through this Friday, March 8, 2019 and cannot be combined with other discounts.

Dr. Sarah Brandon
Chief Executive Officer
Canna Companion Services LLC