For most dogs, epilepsy is a lifelong disease requiring a regimented routine of care and treatment as prescribed by your veterinarian. A canine seizure is the result of abnormal electrical impulses in the brain which lead to sudden but short-term disturbances in your dog’s behavior and physical movements.
Dogs with idiopathic epilepsytypically have their first seizures between the ages of 6 months to 6 years. Though idiopathic epilepsy can occur in any breed, it is considered an inheritable disease in many breeds and in some breeds a genetic basis has been identified. Therefore, dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy should not be used for breeding.
Commonly affected breeds include:
Prolonged seizures lasting more than 5 minutes or two or more consecutive seizures without full recovery are referred to as status epilepticus. This is a true emergency and you should seek immediate veterinary care for you pet. Two or more seizures in 24 hours are referred to as cluster seizures and are an indication for beginning anti-seizure medication.
It may be difficult to watch your pet have a seizure but most are of short duration and cause no permanent harm. Avoid being bitten by keeping your hands away from your pet’s mouth during a seizure. If it can be done safely, provide padding and move your pet away from stairs to prevent injury.
Epilepsy can usually be managed with anti-convulsant drugs. If your veterinarian determines that your dog’s epilepsy is idiopathic, one or more of the following medications may be prescribed:
~ Phenobarbital helps reduce the frequency of your dog’s seizures and is the most prescribed medication for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. It is generally a well-tolerated drug.
~ Potassium bromide is another seizure medication that may be added to your dog’s treatment, if she does not respond well to phenobarbital alone.
CBD ( Cannabidiol) as an alternative Treatment
For pets suffering from seizures, the use of Cannabidiol has been shown to be an effective, non-toxic form of treatment. Statistically speaking, a survey conducted by AHVMA that relied on pet-owner testimonials reported that between 61.8% and 95% of pet owners endorsed the benefits of treat products laced with CBD. According to another study titled, “Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs,” researchers concluded that CBD has properties that can prevent convulsant and epileptic symptoms.
Despite the studies and testimonials, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the use of CBD to treat pet health issues is being met with skepticism and concern. However, some of these concerns can perhaps be refuted when taking a closer look at CBD and where it comes from.
Though coming from the cannabis plant, CBD is the non-psychotropic hemp cultivar that is high in fiber and CBD, and low in THC. The latter (THC) actually has the potential to be harmful for pets. According to an article posted by Hawthorne Vet, the use of THC can bind to highly responsive receptors in a pet’s brain, leading to “static ataxia,” or behaviors that include the animal drooling, urinating excessively, and/or disorientation. Furthermore, if your pet is administered a product or drug that contains too much THC, there exists a risk for toxicity. Therefore, when considering the use of CBD on pets for health issues, it is important to avoid the use of THC and rather look for a product that contains only CBD, derived from hemp.
When opting to utilize Cannabidiol to treat your pet’s seizures, it is important to start with the lowest dose possible and only then gradually increase the dosage, if necessary. Calculating the starting dose for your pet involves taking your pet’s weight in kilograms, determining the concentration of the CBD-product being used, and dividing the dosage across multiple administrations throughout the day.
DOSES of CBD
In general, starting doses of CBD for pain and arthritis is 1 mg/10 lbs of body weight once to twice daily. I started my last dog on this dose to provided symptomatic pain relief for mouth cancer. I eventually increased his dose to 2 mg/10 lbs twice daily and he responded extremely well.
So for pet seizures, we would be looking at a dose of 2 mg/10 lbs a day at the low end or 10 mg/10 lbs daily.
1. Talk to your vet! Your dog needs to stay on current ant-seizure meds and slowly wean off.
2. I would start for the 1st week on the low dose of 1 mg/10 lbs a day then increase to twice a day by the end of the week.
3. Then it’s a matter of lowering the conventional medications and seeing if the seizures are decreasing.
4. It may mean getting up to the higher doses of 2-5 mg/10 lbs a day.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
*Please NOTE, Dr. Jones is not endorsing a specific CBD Hemp Product in this article.