“It’s like chalk and cheese”. That’s how Belinda describes what life has been like for her beloved cattle dog, Shackleton, before and after starting on CBD oil. 

At 8 years old, Shackleton had been diagnosed with a blood cancer which was incurable and progressively causing him more pain. Thanks to CBD oil prescribed through CBD Vets Australia, Belinda and her family have enjoyed precious extra time with Shackleton. 

While they know his condition is terminal, Belinda is grateful that CBD oil has improved Shackleton’s quality of life and helped ease his pain for the time he does have left. 

We asked Belinda about how she discovered CBD oil and how it is being used to treat Shackleton in order to keep him out of pain and discomfort as the cancer progresses.

What health issues and symptoms were affecting Shackleton before starting on the CBD oil?
He was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. I didn’t put him through the rigmarole of finding out exactly which type. Basically, if he had leukemia, then his bone marrow was producing too many red blood cells. And if he had renal cell carcinoma, then he had tumours either on his kidneys or liver that were releasing too many red blood cells.

He was diagnosed with that in April. He was what you’d call an athletic dog. We used to compete in agility. And he was still able to do that up until May. Then it just got to a point where it was too painful for him. And the other thing was, because he had too many red blood cells, he would fatigue very quickly.

What previous medications or treatments had been attempted? For a little while, I just sat on it, because it was cancer and we had no hope of doing anything with it. And then my husband and I were going away for two weeks, down to the beach, and we always took the dogs with us and I wanted Shacks to be fairly pain-free, or as pain-free as he could be for that.

So I started him on Medicam, to try and knock the edge off the pain. And then I came back to the vet and I said, “Look, the Medicam didn’t do anything.” And she suggested ketamine. She’d put another dog on ketamine previously and they’ve had good results.

How was the option of CBD treatment raised?

Another practitioner I was seeing asked whether I’d consider CBD oil. And I said, “Well, no, not really, and I don’t know what it could be useful or how it can help him.” Anyway, as I said, when I spoke to my regular vet who suggested ketamine, I asked her about CBD oil while I was there. She said, “no, I’m not eligible and not registered to prescribe CBD oil.” So, I tried the ketamine for a week. The vet rang me back and she said, “how’d it go?” I said, “it did nothing, it’s just like water.” He was worse.

The vet replied, “well, in the meantime, I’ve gone out and got myself eligible to prescribe CBD oil.” I was really surprised, but she said she’d done a bit of research and she’d like to try it on Shacks. So, we got started on the CBD oil and began slowly before working up. And it was like chalk and cheese. He was running around like a puppy.

What differences or improvements have you seen since Shackleton started using CBD oil for his chronic pain?

After we started on the CBD oil, he was in no pain. There was no limp, nothing. It’s just one minute he can’t walk, and then we started the CBD oil and he was running around like a puppy. He was allowed to have up to one millilitre, but I got as far as 0.5 mil initially. The difference really was like chalk and cheese. It was just amazing. He was virtually pain free. You could see in his face he was just happy. He was moving almost like a normal dog.

Back when the vet gave him ketamine, it was suggested that he probably only had two weeks, maybe three, to live. This was back at the end of July. Now here we are at the end of September and he’s still going strong. He’s not completely pain-free now. Whatever is happening to his body, it is always going to be getting worse. That’s just the way cancer is, but he’s still relatively happy. He’s still running off and playing with the new puppy we have. In all honesty, I don’t know how much longer that’s going to be. But, as I said, it’s gone from, “hey, he might have two weeks”, to two months later, and he’s still going.

What dose of CBD oil is Shackleton currently taking?

I’m building his dose back up again. At the moment, he’s on 0.75ml and in the next day or two, I’m probably going to increase it back up to one mil. One mil is the maximum dose. 

Will you continue using CBD oil?

When we took him into the vet, the vet just sat there with her head in her hands. She was crying. Even my husband who isn’t as into natural oils as I am, he’s been raving about it to everyone. I can’t say enough about what an amazing product it is, and how it’s changed Shack’s life, and how we’ve had at least two extra wonderful months with him.