Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center shares how CBD benefits animal care

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center workers care for Cascabel the mountain lion. SWCC has been using CBD oil to care for the mountain lion. (Submitted photo)

To ease health problems and aging, Cascabel relies on Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center caretakers for her daily Cannabidiol, also known as CBD.

SWCC’s oldest mountain lion Cascabel has health ailments. She’s missing an eye, removed due to infection from a previous eye wound; and she has endured arthritis as she aged, often limping. Her caretakers, however, noticed improved comfort levels and mobility shortly after administering Phyto Animal Health’s CBD oil: Vitality-X. 

Quality of life for the mountain lion has reportedly improved, along with some other animals at the Scottsdale facility, after using the CBD oil product similar to that used by people seeking alternative health treatments such as medicinal marijuana and other hemp-based products.

Phyto Animal Health CEO Ian Quinn notes how domestic, companion animals including dogs, cats and horses benefit from daily CBD supplements. He said the organization’s experience with its SWCC partnership, however, is the “most interesting so far.”

Pleased with the oil’s benefits to wildlife, Mr. Quinn said his organization has donated several 1,000-mg bottles of Vitality-X each month to support the wellbeing of SWCC’s animals since November 2017.

“We had become aware of one of the mountain lions, Cascabel, suffering from age-related arthritic issues. At 18 years old, her mobility was limited and she was not as playful with her friends anymore. When we first met her caretakers they told us her limp was terrible,” Mr. Quinn said, ranking the extent of her limp a 10 on a scale of one to 10.

“Within two months, the caretakers are reporting a 50-60% improvement on her limp and (Cascabel) is now more playful with the other mountain lions. The caretakers are super creative and mix our Vitality-X into her favorite daily snack — meat balls,” he said.

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center’s Cascabel the mountain lion. SWCC has been using CBD oil to care for the mountain lion. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Quinn — an entrepreneur, philanthropist and educator living in southern California — started Phyto Animal Health because of his service dog, Dante, who he rescued from a kill shelter. The pitbull suffers from hip dysplasia, knee mobility issues and extreme separation anxiety, he said.

While volunteering at his local Department of Veterans Affairs, supporting veterans and teaching meditation, Mr. Quinn learned about the natural wellness properties of CBD, he said, and wanted to provide the same benefits to Dante.

“I consulted with leading veterinarians to create a line of CBD supplements specially formulated for pets. In 2017, Phyto Animal Health was established to encourage pet owners to take advantage of the benefits of CBD and hemp for their pet’s wellbeing,” Mr. Quinn said, describing his disappointment with pharmaceuticals as his dog would take medication and then need another for the side effects of the first drug.

Mr. Quinn said he wanted to try a more natural approach since he noticed how miserable his dog was, which led him to meet with top veterinarians to create CBD animal supplements, plus make chemical-free animal bedding and litter.

“Within a matter of a few days, Dante was able to get off the ground with ease and I no longer had to carry him up and down the stairs,” he said.

“He started eating without fuss. And, his separation anxiety was well managed to when I left the house and came home he was sleeping on the couch — not eating it.”

Research co-authored by veterinary professionals at Cornell University, Colorado State University and Metzger Animal Hospital, published in July 2018, detailed how 2 milligrams of CBD oil, given twice daily, can decrease pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.

About 80% of the dogs showed noticeable improvement in pain levels and quality of life, demonstrating how CBD products can be used for animal pain management, although more clinical research is necessary.

“With the current popularity of cannabis and CBD, more research is coming in on a daily basis from all over the globe,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, the CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc., which is the parent company of Phyto Animal Health.

Since Medical Marijuana Inc. became America’s first publicly traded cannabis company in 2009, there have been many reports documenting the benefits and science of CBD, which makes up a small part of the national $336 billion cannabis market, as cited by New Frontier Data, Dr. Stuart added.

“Given the momentum and the huge number of people reporting benefits, we believe this is far beyond a ‘passing fad.’ Certainly, CBD seems ‘everywhere’ these days, but this is because people are seeing benefits by taking it,” said Dr. Stuart.

Questioning the “unconventional health care,” Mr. Quinn said many people ask if their pet can “get high” from the product.

“No. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-toxic. It is not about getting high. It’s about health,” Mr. Quinn said.

Dr. Stuart said there is a stigma that says cannabis is a dangerous and harmful compound with not medical usage. This is a stigma he hopes he can change.

“We are dispelling that myth and certainly have been part of the dialogue to change the way the world thinks about cannabis,” said Dr. Stuart.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at

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