Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs and How CBD Helps
Degenerative myelopathy in dogs is one of those, particularly dreaded diseases. We all know them, the ones that make you say, “oh, no, I hope it’s not that”. Having to watch your dog’s health rapidly decline and be unable to live a normal life is heartbreaking and it can lead to more health concerns.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad. There are doggy wheelchairs that can help your dog maintain a more mobile lifestyle and enjoy themselves, and there are natural treatments, like CBD oil, that can greatly improve your dog’s quality of life. Your dog can live longer and better with degenerative myelopathy than you are imagining.
What is Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs?
Degenerative myelopathy, or DM, is a debilitating disease impacting the spinal cord or nerves that vets commonly compare to ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in people.
A good first place to understand what you’re dealing with if your dog is diagnosed with DM is to understand what the name means. Degenerative refers to the fact that the disease causes one’s spinal cord to decline or deteriorate, while myelopathy states that it is a disease of the spinal cord.
Degenerative myelopathy is a disease actually of the white matter of the spinal cord, which is very bad, because it is the part of the spinal cord that transmits the signals the dog’s brain sends to the various parts of its body telling them to move. As you might guess, that means it directly impacts the dog’s ability to control their body, get around, and live any kind of normal life. Eventually, it will cause paraplegia, or paralysis of the hind legs, and potentially complete immobility.
From onset to paraplegia, the length of the disease’s progression can take anywhere from six months to three years. Unfortunately, it’s usually on the shorter side of that.
How to Know Your Dog Has Degenerative Myelopathy
Symptoms of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy Stages
Early Stage Symptoms:
- tremors in their hind legs
- hind leg weakness
- difficult moving their hind legs
- appearing uneasy or unsure when walking
- lack of coordination in their hind legs
- knuckling their toes when walking
- dragging their feet, which may be accompanied by worn down nails
- difficulty rising
The symptoms may be present in only one leg in the beginning and may only be noticeable when the dog performs certain activities like squatting to go to the bathroom or jumping.
DM in dogs is easily mistaken at this point for arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other diseases that are not quite as scary. Do not let this delay your visit to the vet!
If you can catch degenerative myelopathy quickly enough, you can begin treatments that can greatly improve the dog’s outcome. It, unfortunately, cannot be cured, but you can have an important impact on their quality of life and efforts work better when begun sooner.
Intermediate Stage Symptoms:
- initial symptoms will increase and worsen
- damaged toes from dragging the feet
- begin finding it difficult to rise to stand or lower to lay down
- urinary and fecal incontinence
- inability to hold their weight on their hind legs
- muscle loss
- cannot walk without support
Advanced Stage Symptoms
- paraplegia, paralysis of the hind legs
- muscle weakness in all four limbs
- difficulty breathing if the disease makes it to the brain stem
- displaying pain
- complete immobility
- systemic infections
Pressure sores may begin at any stage if the dog becomes inactive enough. The likelihood of this will, of course, grow as the condition worsens. When paralysis sets in, it will be important to take proactive measures to ensure pressure sores do not develop.
Their hygiene may also decline at different stages depending on the dog’s symptoms
and mood. You should do what is in your power to better their mood and mobility and assist them with their hygiene.
Causes of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
There is still a lot that is not understood about degenerative myelopathy.
One of the primary beliefs is that DM is an immune disease where the dog’s immune system thinks its nervous system is a harmful element and attacks it. This comes from an inherited genetic mutation. It is possible to test for the gene, but it is not very helpful because all dogs that have the gene do not get degenerative myelopathy.
Vitamin deficiencies, toxins, and oxidative stress are also likely causes of degenerative myelopathy. You could discuss this potential with your vet and see if it impacts treatment and outcome.
Many dog breeds have an increased risk of developing DM:
- American Eskimo Dogs
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Cardigan Welsh Corgis
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Great Pyrenees
- Irish Setters
- Kerry Blue Terriers
- Pembroke Welsh Corgis
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
- Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers
- Standard Poodles
- WireFox Terriers
Any dog can develop degenerative myelopathy, but they are much more likely to
develop it as seniors. Large dogs often get it after 8 years and smaller dogs often get it after 11. It is possible for dogs as young as 4 to develop it.
Diagnosing Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
DM is one of those diseases where the diagnosis comes from excluding things it isn’t. There is no test to prove DM directly that can be performed until after the dog has passed.
The vet will want to discuss the dog’s symptoms and lifestyle with you and to examine the dog for signs while in their office.
To discover what the disease isn’t, they may run several tests:
- thyroid tests
- biopsy of spinal cord fluid
A DNA test before the onset of degenerative myelopathy can tell you if your dog has a greater risk of developing it. There is no guarantee, just higher risk. You can use this knowledge to promote the dog’s health to reduce their chances, improve their diet,
Treatment Options for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Since there is no cure for degenerative myelopathy, treatment consists of maintaining the quality of life. This is actually more hopeful than you probably think.
Do be aware though that treatment for degenerative myelopathy requires extensive nursing. Your ability to be an active part of the dog’s health will dramatically impact the length and quality of their life with DM.
First, give your dog as much exercise as you can for as long as you can, without getting so carried away you exhaust the poor thing.
Exercise can be maintained for quite a long time with both harnesses, allowing the dog to still walk with your assistance, and doggy wheelchairs. As long as the dog’s front legs still work, they can be quite mobile and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise with a doggy wheelchair. You’ve probably seen videos online of paralyzed animals in wheelchairs getting around almost as well as they always did. It’s amazing.
Even if the dog does become unable to use all of its limbs, there are wheelchairs designed for dogs that support all of their legs.
Aquatic exercise is also quite helpful for dogs to get exercise without having to support their weight, extending their ability to get exercise and maintain muscle mass for a much longer period of time.
As soon as your dog starts having difficulty getting around, enough that they act hesitant about exercise or seem too unsteady to do it safely, you should get them a degenerative myelopathy harness.
People make booties to protect dogs’ feet against damage from being dragged.
That being said, they are often overused and can cause additional problems for the dog.
- leave the booties on all the time
- use them for their walks
- walk the dog on grass as much as possible
- use booties if their feet drag in the wheelchair
There are two problems with booties, one is that using them for all of their walking makes it hard for them to walk correctly, which interferes with the dog’s ability to maintain the use of their legs, and the other is it can make them fall and hurt themselves. They certainly don’t need an injury on top of their disease.
The booties can protect the dog’s feet in the wheelchair without causing a problem because they don’t have to bear down or balance and aren’t at risk of falling.
The dog’s diet can play a big part in their prognosis.
Their immune system, inflammation, and vitamin deficiencies can be addressed with diet. It might be best for you to discuss the particular diet with your dog’s vet to personalize it to their needs, their weight, their exercise level, and their tastes.
It’s easy with homemade diets and foods to not give your dog the proper nutrition and cause other health problems.
As they start spending more time laying down, it is important to ensure they have proper bedding and that the bedding is maintained properly.
They will need well-padded, supportive bedding, think as strong as a human bed for larger dogs. If you have the room for it, give them a human mattress or air mattress. Sleeping bags and enough thick blankets may be enough for small dogs.
You can purchase special pet beds.
Regardless of what you pick, make sure to change the bed coverings or top layers frequently.
As the dog moves less, they’re also likely to gain weight or become obese. This can make moving more difficult for them and generally cause a decline in health.
Prevent weight gain through diet management, such as with fewer treats or no treats, and low fat, healthy dog food. Table scraps will often be a bad idea as this is a common cause of dog weight gain. If you don’t want to cut them out altogether, try lessening them drastically and/or being picky about whether they’re eating high calorie or high-fat human foods. Be as aggressive with the diet as needed to go with their exercise level and weight.
When a dog starts laying down more than usual or all the time, they develop bedsores. You can prevent this by keeping them mobile as long as possible and turning them on a regular basis when they aren’t mobile.
When dogs become immobile, they can have accidents and you must be able to keep them clean to prevent urine scalding, ulcerations, and lesions.
Dogs with plentiful or long hair on their rear ends will need trimming to help keep them clean, the area just under the tail and around the anus, not their whole back end.
Dogs frequently develop bladder and urinary infections or dog UTI with degenerative myelopathy because they may start not peeing regularly. This is very dangerous and must be treated.
If your dog is crying out in pain, it is necessary to get them help as quickly as possible because they are in an extreme amount of pain.
This unfortunately means your dog may be having pain before you know it or that they appear to be only a little uncomfortable when their pain level is really higher.
A natural, healthy pain treatment may be helpful at the first sign your pet may be in pain, and prescription pain medication may eventually be required if natural methods aren’t cutting it.
If your dog starts crying out in pain during off hours, don’t think you have to put off getting help until the vet office opens again. Call your local emergency vet, your vet’s office should give you the number if you call during off hours, and ask them if they can see the dog or advise you on a human medication to give your dog until you can get to a vet.
CBD oil is a seemingly magic supplement for a staggering number of issues, many of which may apply to your dog with degenerative myelopathy.
First, let’s discuss what CBD oil is. It is called cannabidiol, and it comes from the hemp plant. Do you know how people discuss the medical benefits of marijuana? Well, cannabidiol is part of that, in fact, it can work more effectively than marijuana because marijuana contains the “high” causing chemical THC and can make users feel drastic benefits for a short time and then suffer a crash. Cannabidiol has been shown to be more subtle, last longer, and help the body do what it already does in a better, more efficient manner.
CBD oil for dogs may help with degenerative myelopathy:
- have less inflammation
- enjoy more energy
- metabolize food better
- stress less
- gain extra nutrition
- prevent infections
Using CBD Oil
There are several CBD oil products available that may help your dog:
- Lotions are great for soothing pressure sores and other lesions, helping them heal and preventing infection in the sore.
- CBD Extract concentrates
Tinctures, concentrates, capsules, and treats are given orally. Treats are, of course, the most enjoyable method and come in crunchy or chewy kinds to suit your dog’s tastes. Tinctures and concentrates are the most versatile and cost-effective treatments, and capsules are great for dogs who take pills better than other methods of medication delivery and who don’t like the taste of hemp. Concentrates contain nothing but CBD and hemp oil and taste just like hemp. If your dog doesn’t like that, you’ll have to cover up the taste yourself by delivering the medicine in a food or beverage. Most oil tinctures are flavored, but you’ll have to make sure you buy one that is and that they enjoy the flavor.
Treats and capsules are easier for dosing control as they have set dosages on the package, based on the size of the dog. You’ll have to choose small, medium, or large for your dog’s size. There may be instructions to give one or more treats to reach a certain dose.
Oil tinctures and concentrates provide you with more variability to get the specific dose your dog needs. Tinctures come with either a dropper or sprayer to be applied directly to the dog’s mouth or food. Drops and sprays contain certain amounts for you to measure by the number of them.
Always start with a smaller dose and work up in a week or few weeks increments to reach the effective dose amount for your dog. You can ask your veterinarian for guidance to get the exact dose for your dog, though some trial and error will still be needed.
Do be aware that very small, very large, and very sick dogs will have different requirements and you’ll definitely need CBD dosing advice from a licensed vet.
Purchasing CBD oil
Not all CBD oil is equal.
Make sure you are buying CBD oil that:
- contains no THC
- is third-party tested and shows results online
- was extracted using the CO2 method
- was grown in a country with good growing regulations
You also need to know the difference between full-spectrum and CBD isolate. CBD iso is just CBD oil while full-spectrum CBD oil contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients that come from the whole hemp plant. Full-spectrum is actually the most popular option, and it may be particularly beneficial for your dog with degenerative myelopathy because they may need additional nutrients. Should full-
spectrum not work for you, definitely try CBD isolate. Some people swear it works better for their specific case.
Innovations from Innovet
At Innovet, we make scientifically-backed CBD oil products for pets and humans to address hard-to-treat ailments. If your dog has unique needs or doesn’t respond to CBD oil, let us know so we can try to develop a new product for your dog.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school, she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team
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CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis and Other Mobility Issues
The fastest growing health trend for both humans and pets in 2021 is CBD oil. Perhaps you have seen it on the shelves of your local pet boutique or even at your vet’s office.
If you have a mobility impaired or senior dog struggling with conditions such as arthritis or hip dysplasia, you may be wondering if this is just another passing fad, or if there is any science to support its use. Of course, you want to do all you can for your pet. But you also don’t want to waste your money or risk your beloved pet’s health.
It turns out that CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol or hemp oil, has been extensively researched. This article will give you a basic primer on what CBD oil is, how it works, and what sorts of health benefits it may offer your dog with joint pain, arthritis, chronic inflammation, and other mobility issues.
Our hope is that if your dog has arthritis, hip dysplasia, or another condition that includes chronic pain and inflammation, that you will learn more about how CBD may be a good choice for your canine companion.
All CBD products are not the same. For example, full spectrum CBD oil may offer your dog more relief. If you decide to work with your vet to give it a try, we hope this article will also help you find the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis and mobility issues.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is derived from a special strain of cannabis known as hemp. You may be thinking: “Wait. I thought marijuana was toxic to dogs.” You are right to have this concern. Strains of cannabis grown for recreational and medical use in humans usually contain high amounts of THC, a psychoactive compound that is toxic to dogs in large doses.
However, hemp is special. This strain of cannabis is regulated by law to contain less than 0.3% of THC, far too small an amount to harm your pet when hemp oil is properly dosed.
Hemp is high in another cannabinoid found in hemp: Cannabidiol. This compound is not psychoactive and it won’t get your dog high. But it does have several scientifically researched health benefits. This article will explore those most relevant for our senior and disabled canine companions, including those struggling with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and other conditions that can reduce mobility. Wondering if dog CBD is right for your pooch? Read on.
The Endocannabinoid System
The use of cannabis for its medicinal qualities goes back centuries. However, the scientific exploration of the healing qualities is much more recent. The last few decades in particular have been marked by a surge in laboratory studies on tissues, animals, and humans.
One of the biggest breakthroughs was the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the early 1990’s. It turns out that this system acts with a series of receptors, transmitters, and specialized enzymes to regulate several bodily functions including: metabolism, immunity, digestion, skin health, allergic reaction, anxiety, and more.
Many people think that it sounds like a scam when they see that CBD oil may have so many health benefits, however, it is precisely because the Endocannabinoid System regulates so many other functions in the body that it can have a broad stabilizing effect on these same systems.
Your dog, like all mammals, has her own endocannabinoid system (ECS). In addition to producing her own endocannabinoids, her ECS responds to the introduction of cannabinoids such those found in hemp oil. These can be introduced via food, supplements, and applied topically.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs
High quality CBD oil may play an important role in a vet approved plan for your dog’s health. CBD may be especially useful in canines who suffer from mobility issues, persistent pain and inflammation, or chronic conditions that often come with age such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the science:
For many disabled and senior dogs, pain management is a key component of treatment to maintain quality of life. Pain can be caused from injury, surgery, and chronic and progressive disease such as IVDD, hip dysplasia, and arthritis. Reducing pain is important for your special needs dog’s quality of life.
Generally, pain management will include prescription medications such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although these medications are very effective, they also come with serious side effects. Side effects include chemical dependence, long term liver damage, and the potential for a lethal overdose. On the other hand, the natural supplement cannabidiol has demonstrated in multiple studies to be effective in reducing pain with minimal side effects.
Inflammation is a significant source of pain for many of our handicapped and older dogs suffering from chronic conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Typically, these conditions are treated aggressively with NSAIDs.
Unfortunately, this class of drugs has come under recent controversy concerning the safety of their use, particularly for aging dogs and those experiencing organ dysfunction. This is particularly a concern for long term pain management. Long term NSAID use can have serious side effects on the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and kidneys. In fact, renal failure and death are possible risks of the long term use of this class of drugs. When choosing a treatment regimen for your pet, you and your veterinarian must always balance the risks and benefits of any medication to determine the best course of action for your pet.
Adding CBD to your pet’s treatment plan may be beneficial with minimal risk to your pet. Several studies have shown that cannabidiol has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, both when taken orally or when applied to the skin. One study showed CBD to be effective against inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, that it slowed the progression of this degenerative disease by preventing the nerve damage caused by inflammation! And, with fewer and less severe known side effects than many approved NSAID drugs commonly prescribed to senior pets.
Reduce the Use of Pain Medications with CBD Oil
CBD oil is thought to enhance the activity of opioids and NSAIDS, making it possible to reduce the dose of these drugs without compromising on pain control.
This is great news for dog owners looking to avoid complications from long term use of these drug classes. It certainly warrants a conversation with your veterinarian!
As our dogs age, they begin to show less interest in activities they once enjoyed. Daily walks, a swim in the pond – may become too much for a dog in pain to handle. It is heartbreaking to watch the process unfold and we all want to prolong our pet’s mobility as long as we can.
Because it can address both pain and inflammation, CBD oil may help to improve your aging dog’s mobility. One study on dogs showed that 2 mg of CBD administered twice daily improved mobility for dogs affected with osteoarthritis.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition in dogs, especially seniors and large breeds. Symptoms of arthritis in dogs can include:
- Joint pain
- Decreased mobility
- Difficulty jumping or using stairs
- Reluctance to engage in activities
- Irritability or aggression
Arthritis pain can sadly have a significant impact on the quality of life of many senior dogs. CBD oil for arthritis is a relatively new treatment that has shown some benefit for dogs with arthritis pain.
Is there any veterinary research on CBD oil for dogs with arthritis? Great question!
Veterinary medicine tends to follow trends in human medicine, often lagging by years from testing to approval of veterinary drugs. The FDA has not approved a veterinary drug to treat arthritis based on CBD or hemp based compounds.
However, that is not to say that there is no research to support the use of CBD for arthritis. There are several promising studies that demonstrate that cannabidiol is effective at reducing inflammation in rat models of arthritis. One study showed that CBD was effective at reducing inflammation and slowed the progression of degeneration in rats.
Medical researchers are investigating how some cannabinoid receptors, such as the GPR55 receptor, may be directly implicated in the progression of joint problems in arthritis. One study showed that CBD interacts with this receptor in a way that seems to slow down the progression.
Although there is less research to be found specifically on CBD and dogs with arthritis, one study conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018 showed that 2 mg of CBD administered twice daily to dogs with arthritis resulted in decreased pain and increased activity levels. The dogs in the study also had no reported side effects from the treatment.
The Arthritis Foundation released a report giving some guidelines on the safe use of CBD for people suffering from arthritis. They note that: “Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans.
Although large clinical trials have not yet taken place, it is also fair to say that early research on the use of natural CBD for dogs with arthritis is promising. For dogs with arthritis, CBD may be another treatment option in addition to traditional arthritis medications and supplements.
CBD Oil for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is another common joint issue that begins during puppyhood. And, like arthritis, hip dysplasia is a condition that involves joint pain and inflammation.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that occurs due to uneven growth of the hip joints. This results in arthritis of the hips, often at a young age. Just like dogs with arthritis, dogs with hip dysplasia experience joint pain, loss of mobility, and chronic inflammation. Other symptoms of hip dysplasia are also similar to those in dogs with arthritis, including:
- Reluctance to rise from sitting or laying down
- Difficulty with jumping or using stairs
- Lameness in the hind legs
- Decreased range of motion in the hips
- Loss of muscle mass in the rear limbs
We know that CBD products can help with pain and inflammation. Many vets and pet owners are using CBD oil for dogs to help alleviate symptoms of hip dysplasia. This is giving our pets a better quality of life with less discomfort and more mobility.
Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil
Canine CBD oil is available ‘over the counter’, but always talk to your vet before adding a medication or supplement. This is especially important since CBD oil can interfere with the metabolism of other drugs your canine may need for proper treatment.
You may have been told, or heard not to eat grapefruit at the same time you take medications. The chemicals in grapefruit can temporarily inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver which are critical for metabolizing these medications. Cannabidiol can have a similar inhibiting mechanism so timing your dosing may be very important.
Some dogs experience mild side effects from the use of CBD oil products. These may include symptoms such as mild sedation, seeming drowsy or “out of it”, vomiting, or diarrhea when first starting the product. If these side effects occur, or if you have any other questions or concerns about CBD oil for dogs, stop giving the product and contact your veterinarian for further advice.
If you do decide to give your dog CBD oil for arthritis or mobility issues, make sure you show the product you’ve chosen to your veterinarian first. Your vet will want to make sure the product is third-party lab tested, contains an appropriate dose of CBD, and is THC-free. Some CBD pet products do not meet these safety and clinical efficacy standards. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations to help you choose the best CBD products, or check out our guidelines below.
Best CBD for Dogs with Arthritis
If you want the best CBD oil for dogs for arthritis, be sure that you know what to look for.
Unfortunately, thanks to all the recent science on this supplement, demand is high and supply is still trying to catch up. This makes the market ripe for fake and low-quality products, a situation the FDA has warned pet owners about.
To choose the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, be sure to buy a safe product from a trusted company that makes high-quality CBD oil for dogs specifically, such as LolaHemp. If you decide to do your own research on a brand to try, be sure it checks off all of these important quality considerations:
Quality Considerations when selecting a CBD Oil
Made just for dogs: Avoid CBD oil products made for people which can include flavorings and other ingredients that can be harmful to canines. Dog owners should also be aware that many CBD oils made for people can also contain high levels of THC, which can be fatal to pets. The best CBD oil will be one made specifically for dogs.
Organic sourcing: Refined hemp oil can contain harmful pesticides and herbicides routinely used in industrial hemp farming. Pet owners should look for full-spectrum CBD oil products made from organically sourced hemp, such as LolaHemp products.
Third-Party Lab Tested: You should verify the quality and concentration of any hemp oil before you buy. Look for a product that has recently been third-party lab tested to be sure you are getting a high-quality CBD product tested for purity and concentration. The label should specify the mg of CBD and the product should be THC-free.
Full Spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD oil is the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis, and it is considered superior to CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil – sometimes referred to as broad-spectrum CBD oil – contains all of the vital compounds found in the whole hemp plant. Even in trace amounts, these compounds improve the overall healing qualities of hemp, known as the “Entourage Effect.”
MCT Coconut Oil: Widely believed to boost the ability to metabolize CBD oils, an MCT coconut oil carrier oil is a sign of high quality. Look for a broad-spectrum CBD or full-spectrum CBD oil with an MCT carrier made specifically for dogs to ensure you’re getting a quality product.
Commitment to Animal Welfare
Put your money where your heart is. Support companies that make animal welfare a priority through service and donations to rescue pets in need. The best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis also helps other pets, too!
Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM
Elizabeth Racine, DVM is a small animal veterinarian with a passion for improving the lives of pets. She has worked in the veterinary field in various roles for more than a decade. Dr. Racine’s professional interests in behavior, nutrition, and palliative care. As a writer, her work has been featured by several world-renowned pet health and wellness brands. Dr. Racine shares her home with her dog Dasher – a beagle with his own storied career training new veterinary students – and her trouble-making orange cat named Julius.
Joey DiFrancesco is an animal lover, rescue advocate and entrepreneur. He is the founder of natural pet products brand Lolahemp, as well as online pet novelty shop, Lolawawa’s. Both brands are heavily active within the rescue community and contribute a portion of proceeds to animal rescue efforts.