CBD Oil For Dog Seizures
Few things are more jarring than watching your dog suffer a seizure. Seizures can be caused by a number of different health issues, but whatever the reason, an episode can cause any loving dog owner to feel totally helpless.
In recent studies, CBD oil has shown promising results at reducing seizure frequency in both human and dog patients.
CBD Oil For Dogs With Seizures
Our team was fortunate to be consulted on the creation of the Cannanine™ brand of CBD oil for dogs. Unlike most CBD oils, Cannanine™ is 100% THC free.
Cannanine™ Organic Hemp Oil is made especially for dogs using human-grade ingredients. It’s legal for use in all 50 states. CBD oil could be an effective product to reduce seizures in dogs.
I found giving it 1/2-1 hour after meals works best for us. 3 of mine will take the oil directly from the dropper & 1 eats it off a treat. It usually starts working within 1/2 hour after given. It does stop my chihuahuas seizures within 15 seconds.
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CBD Oil for Dogs Seizures: Here’s What Science Tells Us
Few frightening experiences match seeing your beloved dog experience a seizure.
If it’s a subtle episode, your dog will most likely stare and appear dazed, whine, twitch, breathe heavily, jerk about, or have some unusually rapid eye movements.
But when your dog’s seizures are distressingly severe, she’ll have uncontrollable fits and tremors, and she might even lose consciousness.
An abnormal firing of neurons in your pet’s brain causes seizures. Since there are various causes of seizures—whether they’re mild or severe, it’s advisable to see your veterinarian to help figure out their root cause.
We understand watching your favorite pet experience a seizure can leave you feeling anxious and desperate, especially if you don’t know how to help.
And since about 5% of dogs experience seizures, knowing the right ways to ease your pet’s pain and discomfort can go a long way to making both you and your dog feel a lot better.
Fortunately, there’s quite a bit of anecdotal evidence from many pet parents that indicates CBD oil might be an effective treatment for dog seizures, among other conditions. Indeed, only 5.7% of dog owners feel that CBD oil is not effective at all as a remedy for their dog’s condition.
But is CBD for dogs the right way to deal with seizure control and treatment, as well as the ensuing canine anxiety? Read on to understand what CBD oil is, and how it can help you manage canine epilepsy.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a derivative of the hemp plant. It’s one of more than 100 cannabinoids or chemical compounds that are found in cannabis plants.
It’s important to clarify that CBD is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive compound famous for the intoxicating ‘high’ that weed or marijuana users experience.
While CBD doesn’t give off the intoxicating effects on humans and animals that THC does, it still has as many medicinal uses as marijuana.
THC, like CBD, helps calm, soothe, and manage pain. But unlike CBD, THC also causes euphoria, vomiting, staggering, and lethargy, among other negative effects, in dogs.
There have been no documented ill effects on dogs from the use of high-quality CBD oil products. Steer clear, however, of THC products, as these can be toxic to your pet. We definitely know that no one wants a “high” dog.
Some scientific evidence suggests that CBD treatment for pets can be helpful for a range of conditions, including:
- Low appetite
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Joint pain
There have been a limited number of clinical trials and scientific studies on factors such as the safety and efficacy of CBD oil. The results so far, however, continue to be very promising.
What Are The Causes and Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs?
Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Club (AKC)’s Chief Veterinary Officer, explains that seizures in dogs are signs, not a disease. They are manifestations of some abnormal motor activity taking place in the brain.
Before a seizure occurs, you might notice your dog looking unsteady or confused, or even staring into space. During the episode, your dog might pee or poop, or even fall to the side before moving its legs in a paddling motion.
After the seizure, you might notice your dog looks disoriented, wobbly, and is temporarily blind. There might be lots of drool on their chin, and they might even try to hide. Additionally, dogs that have just had a seizure may walk in circles and bump into things.
This table shows some of the possible causes and symptoms of seizures in dogs:
|Causes of Seizures in Dogs||Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs|
|Electrolyte problems||Muscle twitching|
Other potential causes of seizures in dogs could include:
- Low/high blood sugar
- Kidney disease
- Eating poison
- Liver disease
What Types of Seizures Can Dogs Have?
There are quite a few types of dog seizures that could affect your pet, including generalized or grand mal seizures, focal seizures, psychomotor seizures, and idiopathic seizures.
Idiopathic epilepsy is a kind of seizure that stems from unknown causes. It’s most common in dogs that are older than 6 months but younger than 6 years.
While idiopathic epilepsy is more common in Australian shepherds, German shepherds, beagles, border collies, Labrador retrievers, and Belgian Tervurens, any dog breed can experience it.
Psychomotor seizures, for their part, last a few minutes and involve strange behavior. A dog experiencing this seizure might attack an invisible object or chase its tail.
It can be tricky to identify psychomotor seizures since it isn’t always easy to differentiate normal, odd behavior from seizure-influenced behavior in dogs with epilepsy. A tell-tale sign, however, is that your dog will always perform the same odd act during every episode.
When there’s some abnormal electrical activity in only one section of your dog’s brain, your pet may experience what’s known as a focal seizure. This type of seizure might only last a few seconds.
Nonetheless, you can tell when your dog is experiencing a focal seizure if you notice that he’s making some unusual movements on one side of his body or in one limb. Focal seizures sometimes transform into generalized seizures.
Generalized or Grand Mal Seizures
The most common kind of seizure in dogs is the generalized or grand mal seizure. These seizures are triggered by abnormal electrical activity taking place throughout the brain.
During a grand mal seizure, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to even a few minutes, your dog might convulse and lose consciousness.
How Does CBD Oil Help with Seizures in Dogs?
Anecdotal evidence from veterinarians and pet parents suggests that CBD oil helps reduce the number of seizures dogs experience.
While your local vet might be hesitant to talk about CBD oil for dogs, there’s promising scientific evidence, such as Colorado State University’s study, which indicates that 89% of dogs who received CBD in their clinical trial experienced a reduction in the frequency of their seizures.
The field of veterinary medicine has often relied on a cocktail of traditional medicine known as anti-seizure or anti-convulsive medications to treat canine epilepsy. These drugs may have harsh side effects and, unfortunately, aren’t always effective. They include:
- Potassium bromide
- Diazepam (Valium)
A CBD treatment, on the other hand, is highly effective as a therapeutic anti-convulsant in rodents, which means it may be just as effective in treating seizures in dogs with epilepsy.
CBD oil works by supplementing a mammal’s (in this case, your dog’s) endocannabinoid system with the phytocannabinoids found in hemp.
The endocannabinoid system comprises a network of receptors whose task is to regulate bodily functions. For a mammal’s body to maintain homeostasis, which is a stable internal environment, endocannabinoids must be synthesized on demand.
Seizure activity interferes with homeostasis, thus forcing the body’s internal mechanisms to lag behind its needs. Cannabis products, particularly those with CBD content, benefit both CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors.
CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain, nervous system, glands, and organs; while CB2 receptors mainly exist in the regulatory cells of the immune system.
The ability of CBD oil to calm overactive neurons and control seizures, therefore, is the result of its interaction with CB1 receptors.
It’s important to note that, since cannabis products affect the brain, your dog should see the vet before taking them to make sure her brain is developed enough to handle their effects. This is why it’s also recommended that your dog be at least 12 weeks old before you feed her CBD treats.
How Can I Treat My Dog’s Seizures with CBD Oil?
You can reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures your dog experiences by giving your pet CBD regularly. Additionally, CBD for dogs can also provide pain relief, especially following the pain that results from the intense cramping of muscles duringa seizure episode.
While pain relief and seizure reduction can be typically achieved by dosing your pet twice a day, the dosage amounts you use can vary from one situation to the next. We recommend spacing out your dog’s doses by 12 hours.
Many CBD oils base their dosage guidelines on your dog’s weight or size. Smaller dogs will usually require a smaller dose than larger dogs, but a little experimentation may be needed to find the right balance.
Dog seizures vary in frequency. Some dogs with epilepsy might require two to three doses every day if they have a higher frequency of seizures, whereas others with less severe seizures might only need a single dose per day.
You might need to increase your dog’s dosage over time to maintain the positive effects that the recommended doses of CBD have on him, but ensure you make any changes slowly and gradually so that you can give his body time to adjust.
Can My Dog Overdose on CBD?
Thankfully, since there’s no toxicity related to CBD, it’s impossible to overdose on it. It’s possible, however, that CBD for dogs may result in some side effects, including:
- Mild drowsiness
Stop administering CBD oil if unwanted side effects happen. Wait until they’ve worn off, and then reduce your dog’s dosage when you restart the treatment. This will give him time for his body to get used to the cannabis products you’re treating him to.
What Form of CBD is Most Effective for Dog Seizures?
You’ll find that CBD for dogs is available in many convenient forms. But between a CBD treat and an oil tincture, the oil tincture is by far the most effective method in terms of potency and cost-effectiveness to get you the results you want.
When in oil form, you could take extracts from a dropper bottle and put them directly into your dog’s mouth. You might also opt to add a few drops to their food, rub it inside their ears or into bare skin, or drop it on their paws so they might lick it off.
Adding a few drops of CBD to your dog’s daily food or a treat they’re used to is a great method you could use. It reduces the chances of causing any digestive upset because you’re using something that your pet is already used to.
Alternatively, you might decide to go for CBD dog treats. You’ll find that dogs with epilepsy enjoy their bacon-flavored CBD soft chews or beef meatball treats just as well as those without.
CBD dog treats are great because you’ll not fail to find something that appeals to even the pickiest of eaters.
Nonetheless, this table shows some of the reasons you, too, might find an oil tincture to be a more preferable form of CBD for dogs:
|CBD Oil Tincture||CBD Treat|
Reputable CBD oils will publicly show a certificate of analysis.
This indicates the precise amount of CBD in the bottle.
Certificates of analysis are far less common.
You can’t be sure how much CBD in milligrams is contained in the treat.
|Potency||Used with a dropper, you can control the precise dosage you give your dog.||
Harder to tell what dosage is enough in a treat.
Additionally, the heat used in the cooking process may damage CBD potency.
No extra ingredients or risk of allergens.
Just add a few drops to your dog’s usual food, or apply directly to your dog.
|CBD treats could contain extra calories (or you may have to give many pieces to reach an effective dose) or potentially allergenic ingredients.|
What Should I Do If My Dog Is Having a Seizure?
Your dog’s anxiety might not compare to your own in case you are caught unprepared for a seizure.
Thankfully, there are a few tips that can help keep both you and your dog safe until the episode is over:
- Remain calm—despite the impulse not to
- Recognize that your dog is neither conscious nor in pain, even though it might sound or seem like that’s the case
- Keep track of how long the seizure lasts. You can even ask someone in the room with you to record the seizure episode so you can show your vet later
- Refrain from trying to grab her tongue—she might bite it, but she’s not going to swallow it during the seizure, plus you might get bitten in the process
- Cushion his head as you gently hold and comfort him till he starts to regain consciousness. This’ll prevent him from hurting himself and you won’t have to do a lot more serious pain management
- If the seizure lasts more than 2-3 minutes, your dog is at risk of overheating or hyperthermia. Cool him off by applying wet towels or cold water around his head, neck, groin, and paws, then get him to his veterinarian soonest possible
- Keep a seizure journal where you document your dog’s seizures. A record of the dates, times of day, and lengths of time that she seized can be very handy for a vet who’s trying to figure out if there’s a pattern to these seizures
- If your dog experiences more than one seizure within 24 hours, take him to the veterinarian immediately for an exam. He could be experiencing cluster seizures
Why Should I Trust Cannanine CBD Products?
Cannanine CBD products are legal in all 50 states in the USA. We manufacture them using non-GMO full-spectrum, phytocannabinoid, and terpene-rich hemp oil. Most importantly, however, these products contain absolutely zero THC.
Why is THC such a big deal? THC is bad news for your dog because it causes:
- An elevated heart rate
- Respiratory depression
- Urinary incontinence
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of balance
In severe cases, THC exposure can cause tremors, seizures, and even comas. Your pets certainly won’t appreciate the high THC gives the same way some people might.
While most other CBD oils have trace amounts of THC, Cannanine products don’t. We make them from human-grade ingredients and they’ve been tested and found to be free of harmful bacteria, mold, yeast, heavy metals, and other toxins.
So, when you give your pet CBD products from Cannanine, you can be assured she won’t get high and sick. You may take a look at our Certificates of Analysis here.
Want two more reasons? We want the very best for your pet and all the dogs out there. That’s why every purchase funds several meals for shelter dogs in need. You can see how many dogs you’ve helped feed when you checkout.
Lastly, Cannanine includes a risk-free/money-back guarantee with every purchase. So, whether you’re treating your dog’s arthritis or looking to control his seizures, you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality product and giving back to the community, too!
CBD oil for dog seizures is a common treatment. While studies may still be developing, there are plenty of dog owners that can vouch for the effectiveness of CBD oil treatment. CBD oil can reduce the severity and frequency of seizures and has less harsh side effects compared to other treatment options. As a pawrent, making sure your four-legged friend has quality of life is important. If your dog is experiencing seizures, you will probably try just about anything that is safe to help them. CBD oil for dogs with seizures can offer an effective and all natural treatment option. Keep reading to learn more.
CBD Dosage For Dogs With Seizures
Dosages can vary on a case by case basis. In most cases dosage is usually based on the size of the animal. However, it can also depend on the product. You can usually find appropriate dosage amounts on the label of cbd products. If you have questions or cannot locate dosage suggestions, contact the manufacturer. The manufacturer may ask you questions such as what breed your dog is and how much they weigh. Make sure you have these answers available. Dogs can technically overdose on CBD oil so make sure you know what a safe dose is before starting treatment.
Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs With Seizures
CBD oil is a safe and natural treatment that can help treat dogs with seizures. With research advancing we are learning about more and more benefits of CBD oil. In addition to CBD oil being a natural treatment, it has less severe side effects compared to other treatment options. The proper dosage of CBD oil can improve health issues in the brain, nervous system, and spine systems. In fact, studies have demonstrated that CBD oil has the highest potential for change in these areas. CBD oil can be used to treat seizures, epilepsy, cancer, anxiety, joint pain, allergies, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and more in dogs.
Does CBD Help Dog Seizures?
In most cases, CBD oil can help dogs with seizures. If you try CBD oil treatment you may want to stop other treatments. Introducing one treatment at a time can help you identify what is actually helping. Before starting or stopping treatments you should consult your veterinarian. In some cases, dogs may not respond to CBD oil. However, in most cases they will. Dog owners across the world have been able to help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures using CBD oil treatment.CBD for older dogs with seizures
CBD oil is safe for use with older dogs that are suffering from seizures. However, older dogs may be more sensitive or less tolerant. Seizures may take a toll on older dogs. Trying a natural treatment such as CBD oil is a kind way to treat seizures for older dogs. The harsh side effects of other treatment options may take a serious toll on older dogs.
CBD For Big Dogs With Seizures
The bigger the dog, the larger the CBD dose you will likely need. CBD oil is safe to use for small and large dogs as long as they do not have any negative reaction to the treatment. Before starting treatment you should weigh your dog and determine the recommended dosage for the product you intend to use. After giving the first few doses you should observe your dog to see if it helps or not. Depending on the frequency of seizures, it may take a while to determine if CBD oil is helping.
CBD For Small Dogs With Seizures
As we mentioned above, CBD oil can be used to treat small and large dogs with seizures. When it comes to treating small dogs it’s especially important to identify the appropriate dosage. It’s easier to give a small dog too much CBD oil, as their required dosage may be extremely small. Always weigh your dogs before determining what the recommended dosage is to ensure treatment is safe.
Does CBD For Dogs Get Rid Of Seizures?
Dogs suffering from seizures will most likely always suffer from seizures. While you may be able to improve seizure control and reduce frequency, it’s hard to get full control of seizures.CBD is a common treatment for seizure control. If you have witnessed your dog having a seizure, you are probably hoping to never see it happen again. It can be frightening and leave you feeling helpless. If your dog is suffering from seizures, you should try CBD oil treatment. You can find testimonials from fellow dog owners about how CBD oil helped improve the severity and frequency of seizures.
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Idiopathic epilepsy?
When there is no identifiable cause for recurrent seizures in dogs, they may be diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is a chronic condition that is usually inherited.Dogs that have idiopathic epilepsy may have a shortened lifespan, thus increasing the need for quality of life. For dogs suffering from idiopathic epilepsy, CBD oil may reduce seizure activity. It’s generally safe to use, but you should try it in small doses. You may also want to get approval from your veterinarian before starting treatment. CBD oil can affect the CB1 receptors in a dogs brain which can calm overactive neurons and improve seizure control.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Dogs With Epilepsy?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil may offer treatment for dogs with epilepsy. However, there are no in-depth studies that can validate this evidence. If your dog is suffering from epilepsy, you should ask your veterinarian if CBD oil can help them. They may have an affirmative answer or they may recommend you try it and just see if it helps. Dogs can respond differently to treatment. Canine epilepsy when dogs have recurring seizures. Medications used to treat epilepsy in dogs can have serious side effects, thus leaving dog owners searching for alternative treatments. While treatment may not stop the seizure they may reduce the occurrence or severity. As CBD oil becomes more popular for dogs, more studies are being performed.
Some signs that your dog is suffering from a seizure includes:
- Foaming at the mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- “Running” motion with their legs
In addition to trying CBD oil as treatment for seizures and epilepsy in dos, you can also do the following when your dog has a seizure:
- Remain calm
- Clock the time the seizure lasts
- Know what is normal behavior
- Protect them from surrounding objects
- Keep them cool
- Record when seizures occur
Is CBD oil safe for dogs with seizures?
Dogs that suffer seizures may suffer from severe or minor seizures. Regardless of the severity, they can be painful to watch your dog suffer through. As a responsible dog owner, you will want to find a way to reduce the severity and provide some comfort for your dog. CBD oil can be used to help dogs that have seizures. CBD oil is a natural alternative that can be very effective for treating seizures among dogs. Before starting treatment you may want to check with your veterinarian to get their professional opinion. Keep in mind that some veterinarians may be in favor of CBD products while others may not. You may need to gather a few opinions to determine what is truly best for your dog. Seizures in dogs can be caused by vaccines, head injuries, cancer, kidney or liver disease, topical tick and flea products, and more. Dogs that suffer from severe seizures may be diagnosed with epilepsy.
4 Strategies For Reducing Your Dog’s Seizures
Although there are few things you can do while a seizure is happening, there are steps you can take to help reduce the occurrences of seizures in your dog. Here are a few different methods other dog owners and veterinarians have found to be successful.
Many dog owners choose to trust western medicine when it comes to their pup’s health. But dog owners choosing to go this route should know that although they may see positive results from medication, the cost can be some pretty serious side effects. Some of the most common drugs prescribed for seizures in dogs are known to cause lethargy, loss of coordination, toxicity, and liver damage.
Only you can decide what is best for your dog. Weigh the pros and cons before committing to any medication, and consider other methods if you’re concerned about the side effects.
The stomach is often considered the largest organ in our immune systems, because what we eat plays such an important role in our overall health. Think: “you are what you eat.”
The Ketogenic Diet (Keto) is a high-fat, low-carb diet that has become overwhelmingly popular, and not just with people trying to shed pounds, but also for people and dogs with neurological disorders. Diets high in healthy fats, have long thought to be good for brain and nervous function. In a scientfic trial studying dogs with epilepsy, dogs placed on a ketogenic diet found a significant reduction in the number of seizures suffered per month – some stopped having seizures altogether!
Putting your dog on a ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you need to start cooking for him. You can find keto dog food online.
When weighing the pros and cons of medication some veterinarians choose alternative means of treating their patients. Many veterinarians are now practiced in Eastern medicine, acupuncture, and other holistic remedies – and not just because the side effects of medication can be scary, but because these remedies have worked for years.
Dr. Karen Becker with Mercola Healthy Pets discusses an interesting study from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital researching the effects of acupuncture on dogs with epilepsy. Dogs who suffered seizures underwent permanent acupuncture – a treatment where gold beads were implanted over acupuncture points in the body. The dogs only saw temporary improvement, but Dr. Becker says that dogs she has treated with traditional acupuncture see longer lasting results without the use of implants.
Unlike diet, acupuncture doesn’t require any long-term lifestyle changes. You can find a holistic veterinarian in your area at AHVMA.org.
People are finding more and more uses for CBD oil for themselves and their pets.
A double-blind study was recently conducted to test the effectiveness of CBD oil in reducing seizures in dogs, with some amazing results! Dogs in the study were randomly placed into two groups – one group was given CBD oil to treat their seizures, and the other was given a placebo. All the dogs suffered two or more seizures a month, and by the end of the study, researchers found that the CBD oil was successful in reducing the number of seizures in 90% of the dogs!
CBD oil is a relatively new option for treatment, and many are still skeptical about it, but CBD proves over and over that it’s a useful tool providing relief for a number of issues.
Study Shows CBD Oil May Be Helpful For Dogs With Seizures
CBD derived from cannabis and super low in THC, is used to treat human health issues, and recent studies are opening the doors to dogs. The newest study on using CBD oil for dogs delivers good news, something many veterinarians have been anticipating—CBD oil has great potential for treating dogs with epilepsy.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath with Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital recently spearheaded a study to learn more about how CBD oil affects dogs with epilepsy. It’s the first study of its kind, and researchers, veterinary professionals, and pet owners are sure to be more than pleased with the results.
Dr. McGrath presented the study’s findings to a full house at the veterinary medical conference in Denver on Monday. According to the results, CBD oil was effective in reducing the frequency of seizures in nearly 90% of dogs in the study. The trial consisted of 16 pups, and all were experiencing two or more seizures a month prior to receiving chicken-flavored CBD oil. Seven dogs served as a control group and received a placebo for 12 weeks before switching to CBD oil for an additional 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers tallied the number of seizures each dog experienced to compare results.
These preliminary findings represent the first official steps taken to help dogs with epilepsy find safe and natural relief. There are several pharmaceutical options available, but for many dogs, the side effects of those medications become unmanageable, or the medication fails to be effective. Dogs have been in need of a better solution for a long time, and Dr. McGrath and other veterinarians are optimistic CBD oil might be the answer.
While this study supports the same theory that many dog owners have already tested, Dr. McGrath still says more research is needed. She told CBS Denver,
“Although really exciting results, it still has to be taken with a little bit of a grain of salt, because the power of the study is diminished when you don’t have a lot of dogs involved.”
Not having a lot of dogs is a problem Dr. McGrath is looking forward to solving with her next study. CSU recently received a substantial grant to go toward another study on using CBD oil to treat dogs with epilepsy. Their goal with the upcoming study is to include results from at least 60 dogs and to look deeper into questions like, what is the correct dosage for dogs, and how is CBD oil absorbed by the body? We’re all looking forward to the results and the opportunity to learn more about the potential powers of CBD oil.
Why CBD Oil For Dog Seizures Might Be Your Pup’s New Best Friend
If your dog has seizures, you want to know you are doing everything possible to help. Unfortunately, traditional anti-convulsive drugs do not always work for every dog.
In recent studies, CBD oil has shown promising results at reducing seizure frequency in both human and canine patients. Could this safe, natural treatment be just what your dog needs?
What Is A Dog Seizure?
Before you can comprehend what your dog is going through, you must understand what a seizure is. Veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward describes a dog seizure as:
“A temporary involuntary disturbance of normal brain function that is usually accompanied by uncontrollable muscle activity.”
Based on this description, you probably envision a massive grand mal seizure, where the dog’s entire body stiffens, trembles, and convulses. In dogs, these are known as generalized seizures. While they are the most common type, other seizures are more subtle and may even be overlooked by the untrained eye.
Other Types Of Canine Seizures
Petit Mal Seizures
Petit mal seizures are sometimes referred to as absence seizure because they involve a period of unconsciousness. They typically only last for a matter of seconds, and may involve a blank stare, rolled back eyes, or a loss of muscle tone.
Also known as partial seizures, focal seizures only affect one part of the brain and body. Rather than convulsions, you may notice facial twitching, muscle spasms, or involuntary movement in one limb.
Complex focal seizures may cause strange behaviors such as lip smacking, chewing, compulsive snapping (as if trying to catch an insect), running, hiding, and disorientation.
When a dog experiences more than one seizure in a 24-hour period, it is classified as cluster seizures. While the episodes tend to be short and spaced hours apart, cluster seizures are very serious and can continue on until the dog is in critical condition. As a rule of thumb, any dog that suffers from more than three seizures in 24 hours should see the vet immediately.
Canine Status Epilepticus
The most serious type of seizure involves one long episode or several seizures with no period of consciousness in between. Status Epilepticus is an emergency situation that may cause hyperthermia (overheating) or brain damage. These dogs require hospitalization and constant infusions of anti-convulsive drugs to control their seizures.
Seizures While Sleeping
Most seizures in dogs occur during sleep. Although the exact reason is unknown, this may be due to changing brain activity during sleep and dreaming. However, it is also possible that some dog parents mistake the normal twitches and kicks of deep sleep for seizure activity.
Why Do Dogs Have Seizures?
When a dog has seizures with no known cause, it is referred to as canine idiopathic epilepsy. This condition typically appears in dogs between the ages of one and five. There is no specific test for epilepsy in dogs, so the diagnosis comes after all other causes are ruled out. Epileptic seizures can be single or occur in clusters.
Additional causes of seizures in dogs include:
- Brain Tumors
- Head Trauma
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Failure
- High or Low Blood Pressure
What Happens To A Dog During A Seizure?
When a dog has a seizure there are three distinct phases:
1. The Pre-Ictal Phase
In the minutes leading up to a seizure, dogs may show signs of anxiety, such as whining, pacing, or panting. However, not all dogs display obvious signs during the pre-ictal phase. This may mean they do not experience them, or that the signs are too subtle for humans to notice.
2. The Ictal or Ictus Phase
This phase consists of the active seizure itself, whether it lasts several seconds or several minutes.
3. The Post-Ictal Phase
The seizure is followed by a period of recovery known as the post-ictal phase. It may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, and the dog may be weak and disoriented.
Is It Painful When A Dog Has Seizures?
The short answer is no. Despite the straining muscles and uncontrolled movements, dogs do not feel pain during a seizure. Due to misfiring neurons in the brain, the dog goes into an altered state of consciousness and is not aware of what is happening. It is also impossible for a dog to swallow its tongue during a seizure.
While the seizure itself does not hurt, dogs can become injured if they fall or bump into something during the ictal phase. If your dog has seizures, you can help him stay injury-free by guiding him to a designated safe area if/when he shows signs of an impending seizure.
Here are a few tips for preparing a safe spot:
- Gate off stairs
- Do not put your dog on the couch or bed (he may fall)
- Choose carpet over hard flooring
- Avoid furniture with hard sides or sharp edges
- Pad the area with pillows and blankets
- Do not try to move your dog if the seizure has already begun
Related Post: How To Help Your Dog Through A Seizure
While a single seizure is rarely life-threatening, keep in mind that cluster seizures or those lasting longer than three minutes are quite serious and require prompt treatment.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Seizures?
See Your Vet
The first step is to see your veterinarian for a thorough workup including blood tests and further diagnostics. He or she will rule out life-threatening causes of your dog’s seizures such as organ failure or poisoning.
If the episodes are mild and infrequent, your vet may recommend a wait-and-see approach before starting anti-convulsive medications. Once a dog takes these drugs, he must remain on them for life, so it is important to make sure they are necessary.
Signs it is time to begin medication for your dog’s seizures:
- More than one seizure per month
- Experiencing cluster seizures, or
- Having grand mal seizures
There are several anti-convulsive drugs on the market, but phenobarbital and potassium bromide are most common for dogs. Many people also keep Diazepam (Valium) on hand to shorten seizure duration.
Keep A Seizure Diary For Your Dog
Tracking your dog’s seizures will help your vet identify patterns and determine when/if to begin medications. Continuing to monitor seizure activity may help identify specific triggers and alert your vet when it is time for a dosage change. Some people even opt to film their dog’s seizures.
Click here for more information on tracking and recording your dog’s seizures.
Consider Alternative Treatments
Anti-convulsive medications prove ineffective for some dogs. Others cannot tolerate the harsh side effects. Dr. Rachel Barrack, a certified veterinary acupuncturist and certified veterinary Chinese herbalist, believes Eastern alternative therapies may help dogs when Western medicine fails.
“Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, and food therapy, can be very effective in treating dogs with epilepsy, and there are many different herbal formulas that can be used to treat seizures,” Barrack tells PetMD. “These treatments can be used in conjunction with traditional Western medications, or in some cases in lieu of Western therapies.”
In addition to these treatments, there is ever-growing evidence that CBD oil reduces the frequency of seizures in dogs.
CBD Oil For Dogs With Seizures
Promising studies of CBD use in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy began more than a decade ago, but research in dogs is just beginning to ramp up. However, the treatment of seizures is one of the most promising applications of CBD oil and new studies are in the works.
Studies On CBD Oil For Dog Seizures:
A 2018 study at Colorado State University found that 89% of epileptic dogs experienced a reduced frequency of seizures while taking CBD oil. The researchers plan to continue their work with a larger group of test subjects and explore other areas in which CBD may be effective.
“The timeliness and importance of research into the role of Cannabis in veterinary medicine cannot be emphasized enough,” states Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a board-certified veterinary neurologist at Colorado State. “With the changing public perception of Cannabis, it is time that we put science behind the stories and claims. We need to know if this drug is safe and if it works. If CBD is effective for treating epilepsy, it has the potential to save the lives of dogs around the world.”
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) recently announced a major clinical trial to study the use of cannabidiol to treat drug resistant epilepsy in dogs. CHF also helped identify specific genes that play a role in canine epilepsy, resulting in a genetic test for canine myoclonic epilepsy.