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CBD and Chronic Pain in Horses

Monday, June 15, 2020

Can CBD help manage chronic pain in horses? That’s the question two veterinarians at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are trying to answer. Drs. Todd Holbrook, professor and June Jacobs Endowed Chair in Veterinary Medicine, and Megan Williams, assistant professor of equine surgery, recently completed a study looking at a pelleted CBD product in horses.

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the major non-psychoactive cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. A number of studies in animals documented the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of CBD. This nutraceutical is gaining popularity as a supplement in companion animals for the management of pain due to chronic arthritis. One recently published study showed that CBD supplementation in dogs was beneficial in improving comfort and increasing activity in dogs with arthritis. Since no similar studies in horses have been published yet, Holbrook’s and Williams’ research evaluated the analgesic properties of a commercial CBD pellet in chronically lame horses.

“We gave horses a pelleted CBD product daily for a specified time period and then subjectively and objectively evaluated the horses for lameness,” said Holbrook. “The horses were also evaluated for lameness after receiving phenylbutazone (“Bute”), a well-established analgesic medication used in horses, as well as with no treatment.”

At the end of the study, Holbrook and Williams compared lameness data between treatments to objectively evaluate the analgesic effects of the CBD pellets in comparison to phenylbutazone or no treatment.

“There is still so much that we don’t know about the potential benefits of CBD for our equine patients,” said Williams. “We are hopeful this objective data will be beneficial to owners who are considering CBD supplements for their horses with lameness issues.”

Holbrook and Williams will soon submit their research for publication to share with their equine clients and colleagues.

If you would like to support ground-breaking research at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, please contact Ashley Hesser, assistant director of development with the OSU Foundation, at or 405-385-0715.

MEDIA CONTACT: Taylor Bacon | Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator | 405-744-6728 | 

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