Could cannabis treat cancer in dogs?

Marion Chorney knew something was wrong with her 11-year-old coonhound Red when she spotted drops of his blood in the snow after he relieved himself last year.

The Burlington woman took him to the vet, but test after test wasn’t revealing the issue. Then, the diagnosis came: bladder cancer.

Vets started Red, who has yet to lose his energy or any weight, on radiation, but plenty of Chorney’s friends with elderly dogs had a treatment of their own to suggest — cannabis.

“They keep asking me why he is not on it,” Chorney said. “I know that it is still in the research stage for dogs. I am so careful with anything I give him and I don’t want to give him anything if it is not really proven.”

That uncertainty around the efficacy of cannabis in treating dogs with bladder cancer is why Samuel Hocker, an assistant professor of veterinary medical oncology at the University of Guelph, has embarked on a three-year study examining the efficacy of the substance for treating urothelial carcinoma tumours in dogs.

By Tara Deschamps Special to the Star
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