CBD and seizures are both incredibly complicated topics, but we're going to try to simplify what you need to know so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to your dog's health and wellness.
First of all, what are seizures? According to the American Epilepsy Society (AES), a seizure is a sudden attack of symptoms caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. They can be caused by something as simple as sleep deprivation or stress or they can be related to a more serious condition like epilepsy. The good news is that with proper treatment and care, seizures and epilepsy can be managed.
A Closer Look at Seizures in Dogs
A seizure is an electrical disturbance in the brain that causes your dog to experience uncontrolled muscle movements, vocalization and/or loss of consciousness. Seizures can last for a few seconds or up to several minutes.
In most cases, seizures are caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (i.e. neurotransmitters). It's important to understand that seizures are not the same as epilepsy, which is a chronic condition characterized by recurrent seizures. However, some dogs do have both epilepsy and seizures.
The most common type of seizure in dogs is called a generalized tonic-clonic seizure (GTCS). This type of seizure involves muscle contractions throughout the body and may include involuntary urination and defecation as well as vocalizations such as barking or growling. After the seizure ends, your dog will be tired but will often appear completely normal.
Types of Seizures in Dogs
There are different types of seizures in dogs, each with their own unique characteristics. The most common types include:
1) Myoclonic Seizures: These seizures occur when a dog's muscles contract rapidly and repeatedly. They are also known as "drop attacks" and can be mistaken for epilepsy or stroke.
2) Absence Seizures: A dog with an absence seizure will appear to be staring off into space, with no awareness of what is happening around it. These seizures last between a few seconds and a minute and may recur several times in a row.
3) Partial Seizures: Partial seizures are characterized by twitching, jerking, or uncontrolled movement of one part of the body. This type of seizure usually lasts no longer than five minutes.
4) Generalized Seizures: Generalized seizures affect both sides of your dog's brain at once and cause loss of consciousness or muscle control throughout his body.
What Causes Seizures in Dogs?
The causes of seizures in dogs can be as varied as the reasons for seizures in humans. The most common cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy.
Idiopathic epilepsy is a condition where the dog has an abnormal brain function that causes them to have recurring seizures, but the exact cause of the idiopathic epilepsy is unknown. Some other causes of seizures in dogs includes:
- Brain tumor: A brain tumor can cause seizures because the tumor will press on or damage the brain tissue causing it to malfunction and send electrical signals that lead to seizures.
- Head trauma: Seizures can occur after a head injury if there is damage done to the brain tissue during the injury.
- Infection: Infections like meningitis and encephalitis can cause seizures if they are left untreated or if they cause permanent damage to your dog's brain tissue resulting in electrical signaling issues that lead to seizures later on down the line once the infection has run its course through their system completely.
- Genetics: Genetics play a role in seizures in dogs. As with humans, there are certain breeds of dogs that are more likely to experience seizures than others.
Some dog breeds are more likely than others to suffer from seizures. This is because some breeds have more genetic predisposition for epilepsy than others. These breeds include:
- Border Collie
- English Springer Spaniel
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd Dog
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Great Dane
What To Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure
Seizures are a scary event for any pet owner. But you shouldn't panic if your dog has one.
If your dog is having a seizure, it's important to stay calm and make sure you can provide them with a safe environment. If you know what to do, you'll be able to help them through their symptoms and get them the medical attention they need.
Here are some common signs of seizures in dogs:
- Loss of consciousness or awareness
- Uncontrolled muscle movements (twitching or jerking)
- Loss of control over bladder or bowels (urinating/defecating)
- Your dog's eyes look like they're rolling back in their head
- Your dog's body shakes and twitches
- Your dog's mouth hangs open and drools uncontrollably
While your dog is suffering a seizure, you can comfort them, but stay away from their mouth since their jaw may clamp down.
Seizures shouldn't last longer than five minutes at a time. Consult an emergency veterinarian if it does. The dog usually recovers from seizures within a few minutes and goes back to its regular activities.
Traditional Seizure Medications
Seizures are a common problem for dogs, and there are several medications that can be used to help prevent or treat them. These medicines are usually prescribed by your veterinarian, who will recommend the best course based on your dog's age and symptoms.
The most common medications used to treat seizures in dogs are phenobarbital and potassium bromide. Both of these medications work by stabilizing nerve activity in the brain, which can prevent seizures from occurring.
When using these traditional medications to treat your dog's seizure condition, it's important to give them exactly as prescribed by the vet and monitor their behavior closely while they're taking them
Phenobarbital Side Effects
The most common side effect of phenobarbital is sedation. The sedation may cause lethargy, decreased appetite, and poor coordination. As the dosage increases, these symptoms are likely to become more severe.
Other possible side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and agitation, increased thirst, increased urination and polyuria (excessive urination). These side effects are most likely to occur at higher doses of the medication.
Other possible side effects include increased risk of liver damage or liver failure, especially in combination with NSAIDs like aspirin or motrin.
In some cases it may be necessary to adjust the dose of phenobarbital if severe side effects are experienced such as excessive sedation or agitation.
It is important to work closely with your veterinarian if you notice any unusual behavior in your pet while taking this medication so that they can make any necessary adjustments or adjustments in other medications being taken at the same time by your pet due to possible interactions between them which could be fatal.
CBD for Dog Seizures
Your veterinarian may recommend phenobarbital (PB) and potassium bromide if your dog is prone to seizures (KBr or K-BroVet Potassium Bromide). Due to the potential adverse effects and possibility for severe liver damage, many dog lovers are turning to natural remedies, like CBD, for canine seizures.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants (like hemp). CBD is known for its ability to treat pain and inflammation, as well as other conditions like anxiety or sleep disorders. But it also has been shown to have potential as an anti-seizure medication.
That's right: CBD can help prevent seizures!
It's thought that CBD works by interacting with brain receptors called CB1 receptors, which play a role in regulating mood and memory functions. This interaction produces anti-seizure effects without any psychoactive effects.
So how do you use cannabis oil to treat seizures in dogs? Well, the easiest way is just to give your dog some CBD oil or an edible product, like Canine Cush, that contains CBD as one of its ingredients.
Looking at the Research
A neuroscientist recently evaluated the short-term impact of CBD on seizure frequency in 16 dogs as part of a recent study. Dogs in the experiment were given a placebo or CBD extracted from hemp at random for a period of 12 weeks. Seven dogs received a placebo, while nine dogs received CBD. All dogs in the research study had suffered from seizure activity.
According to the study, 89 percent of the dogs who got CBD during the clinical trial had fewer seizures on average. They also observed a strong correlation between the level of seizure reduction and the CBD concentration in the dog's blood.
Despite this being a relatively low sample size, the findings are the beginning of something much larger. This study lays a foundation of the importance of CBD as an option for dogs, and people, with these types of conditions.
Visit a Holistic Veterinarian
Dogs can have seizures for all sorts of reasons, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. If your dog has a seizure, you should take them to the vet right away, but you might be able to help manage symptoms at home until then.
Visiting a holistic veterinarian to discuss your dog's seizures is recommended for a full spectrum approach to their condition. If your pup doesn't need pharmaceuticals, it's better for their mind and body to choose a natural treatment for seizures in dogs.