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Clinical trial investigates effectiveness of hemp-based supplement for dogs


May 28, 2019
By Grow Opportunity staff

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Larger and heavier dogs become more prone to osteoarthritis and joint immobility

The Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is embarking on a clinical trial to study the effectiveness of a hemp-based natural supplement to relieve symptoms of joint immobility in dogs.

In a press release, Dixie Brands – a provider of consumer packaged goods – announced its Mobility canine supplement will be used for the clinical trial. The Mobility supplement was developed by Therabis LLC, a pet wellness company owned by Dixie Brands.

Penn Vet’s clinical trial will be led by principal investigator Dr. Kimberly Agnello. Dogs known to be suffering from inflammation secondary to osteoarthritis will be studied to determine whether those who receive the Therabis supplement achieve better outcomes than untreated dogs. One group of dogs will receive the formula for a proprietary veterinarian-specific formula Therabis product; a second group will receive Cannabidiol alone, which previous studies have shown may have benefit in osteoarthritic dogs; a control group will receive a placebo. According to Dixie Brands, the researchers are aiming to include up to 20 dogs in each group.

“The design of this study will provide valuable data defining the synergistic potential of the additional ingredients in the Therabis formula,” the company said.

The clinical trial is among the first scientific studies of cannabinoid therapy for pets, and is believed to be the largest-scale trial commenced to date. It is also believed to be the first major double-blind trial, meaning neither the researchers nor the dog owners are aware of which subjects are receiving the placebo or the other two interventions. The study design incorporates physical tests to establish quantitative measures of effectiveness. In studying dogs’ front leg joints rather than the more commonly studied hips, the trial’s results can be readily extrapolated into other joints since the inflammatory process is equivalent. Results are anticipated within approximately 12 months, and are expected to be published in a veterinary medicine journal.

“We are honored to have a Therabis product selected by the world-renowned experts at Penn Vet for their first major study of the effects of natural hemp oil to reduce joint pain in dogs,” said Dr. Stephen M. Katz, co-founder of Therabis. “Our experience in my clinic has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) is an effective treatment in reducing inflammatory response. We have a passion for improving dogs’ quality of life, and we look forward to learning all we can about therapeutic methods to achieve this.”

As dogs age, discomfort from osteoarthritis, back issues and joint immobility can become increasingly common. Problems often become apparent over time as dogs show reduced interest or ability to perform common tasks like walking, jumping or climbing stairs. Larger and heavier breeds can be especially prone to these issues. It is estimated that more than half of dogs older than seven years suffer from arthritis.

Market researcher Packaged Facts has estimated that retail sales of pet supplements and nutraceuticals totaled $1.6 billion in the U.S. in 2017. Brightfield Group has estimated that CBD-infused pet products are currently a $199-million business and expected to grow to $1.16 billion by 2022.