Cbd oil and keppra for dogs

CBD Oil and Dog Seizures

This article explores the topics of seizures and epilepsy in dogs. In particular, it looks at some of the research on the natural compound cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, and its anticonvulsant properties. Finally, it covers the state of research in veterinary medicine regarding CBD for dog seizures.

According to the AKC Health Foundation, seizures in dogs can have a variety of causes, including exposure to toxins, illness, injury, a specific stimulus (such as a loud noise) or problems with metabolism. Three basic categories of seizures in dogs have been identified:

• Idiopathic Epilepsy: The most common type of seizure activity in dogs, particularly dogs between six months and six years of age. “Idiopathic” means that after using diagnostic testing to rule out possible conditions, there is no identifiable cause for the seizures. It is thought that at least some of these idiopathic seizures are inherited conditions, as some breeds, including Boxers and other Bully types, seem to have them more frequently.

Although a single epileptic seizure may not cause any lasting harm, multiple seizures over a short period of time, or seizures lasting more than a few minutes, can damage a dog’s brain and predispose the dog to more frequent and severe seizure activity in the future.

• Structural Epilepsy: Damage to the brain, from either illness or injury. An example would be brain damage after a head injury, stroke or inflammatory disease. In many, but not all, cases, other behavioral or motor-coordination changes may also be present. Dogs who are less than one year or more than five years old at the time seizures begin are more likely to have structural epilepsy or reactive seizures than to have idiopathic epilepsy. Diagnostic tests, such as blood work and an MRI of the brain, are often needed to identify the underlying cause of the seizure activity.


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• Reactive Seizures: Seizures in response to a known trigger, such as a certain type of food or a poison. While not considered a marker for epilepsy, this type of seizure can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition such as hypoglycemia, electrolyte imbalances or hepatic encephalopathy. Reactive seizures can sometimes be cured if the underlying problem can be identified and corrected.

While some seizures may be relatively benign (for example, idiopathic head tremors common to Bully breeds), in other cases, they may be a sign of a serious medical condition such as acute poisoning, injury or an illness that needs immediate medical care. If your dog experiences a seizure, consult your veterinarian, who will perform the diagnostic tests necessary to rule out a serious problem and to suggest a course of treatment.

Traditional Medications for Seizures in Dogs

Treatment of canine seizures varies depending on their root cause. This may include dietary changes; treating an underlying cause (such as a metabolic disorder); and/or the use of anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, zonisamide and levetiracetam.

One of the things to keep in mind about anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals is that once a dog goes on them, most veterinarians are likely to recommend that they stay on them for life. In cases of idiopathic epilepsy, where the seizures are short and infrequent and more serious causes have been ruled out, you and your vet may decide not to put your dog on an anticonvulsant medication and instead, deal with occasional seizures when they occur.

Research on CBD and Epilepsy

The FDA approved the first pharmaceutical drug based on CBD oil in 2018 under the brand name Epidiolex. This drug is now being used to treat rare forms of drug-resistant childhood epilepsy. Unlike other drugs that use synthetic versions of the compounds found in the cannabis family of plants, this medication for seizures is the first to be based on an extract from the hemp plant itself: cannabidiol (CBD).

The move came as no surprise. In fact, robust scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated the anticonvulsant properties of this natural compound, which were known as long ago as 1973. CBD shares this property with several other cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis family, although, unlike its cousin THC, cannabidiol has no psychoactive effect. That is, it doesn’t cause a high or have a euphoric effect. As a result, over the last few decades, it has been the subject of dozens of medical studies concerning its antiseizure properties.

Research into cannabis-based medicine has been hindered by legal issues surrounding cannabis. However, when the 2018 Farm Bill reinstated the agricultural production of hemp in the United States, the door was opened for scientists to finally investigate the medicinal properties of this special strain of cannabis, which is very high in CBD and very low in THC.

Research on CBD Oil for Dog Seizures

It’s common for research in veterinary medicine to fall several years behind human medicine. In the case of cannabis, the same issues that limited research in human medicine—funding and the legal status of cannabis use—have also affected the veterinary community.

However, because the anticonvulsant properties of CBD have been known by the scientific community for quite some time, the change in the legal status of hemp and the FDA approval of Epidiolex encouraged veterinary researchers to investigate the safety of CBD oil for dog seizures, as well as its potential in veterinary medicine.

Leaders in this area include researchers at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University. In June 2019, they released the findings of the first clinical trial on the effects of hemp oil for seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy who were also undergoing traditional anticonvulsant therapies.

Although the sample size was relatively small (n=26), the results were encouraging. The CBD group was administered 2.5 mg/kg twice daily for 12 weeks in addition to their antiseizure medication, while the control group stayed on antiseizure medication alone. Although both groups showed response to treatment (defined as a 50 percent or more reduction in seizures), those who received the CBD oil in addition to the traditional anticonvulsant showed a 33 percent median reduction in the frequency of seizures over the dogs who received only traditional anticonvulsant drugs.

To put it more simply, this study showed that CBD enhanced the antiseizure effects of traditional medications. The researchers also noted a positive correlation between the plasma concentration of CBD and a proportionate reduction in seizures, suggesting that more research needs to be done on how CBD is metabolized in canines to establish the best dosing guidelines.

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Thanks to a grant from the AKC Health Foundation, the same group of researchers aims to start a new clinical trial with a larger sample of epileptic dogs, and is currently seeking participants. This 12-week trial should result in new insights into the effectiveness of CBD oil for dog epilepsy.

What to Look for in a High-Quality CBD Oil for Dogs

If you’re considering CBD oil for your dog, work with your veterinarian to make sure you have a proper diagnosis and an approved treatment plan first. If you and your vet decide to try CBD as part of a treatment plan for your dog’s seizures, do your research to find a high-quality CBD oil made especially for pets.

The CBD market is a rapidly growing and largely unregulated industry. That being said, there are some great products out there. To ensure that you’re getting the highest-quality pet CBD products, look for companies that:

• Source their CBD from sustainable hemp farmers who make sure their soil is free of harmful toxins, which can make a dog very sick.

• Carefully and safely extract CBD using high-quality CO2 extraction. This extraction method uses low temperatures and pressures that preserve the therapeutic nutrients of the hemp plant. It’s also an eco-friendly method that’s better for the planet.

• List all the active and inactive ingredients found in each of their CBD pet products. This includes flavors, carrier oils and the exact milligrams (mg) of CBD.

• Have their products thoroughly tested by an accredited third party to ensure that the final product is accurately labeled, effectively potent and safe for your dog to consume.

• Provide all lab test results and additional testing information about their CBD pet products on their website.

• Offer outstanding customer service. Providing a well-trained and well-informed support team should outweigh product profitability.

• Has a commitment to animal welfare. Look for a charitable company that partners with animal rescue organizations by donating both a portion of their sales as well as products to rescue groups working to help abandoned, neglected and abused companion animals find their forever homes.

Your Complete Guide To Levetiracetam For Your Dog

Seizures can be a terrifying thing, for humans and pets alike. You can often feel helpless, trying to give them any comfort you can while they shake for what feels like forever. Most of the time, owners are quick to get looking for anything that might resolve the problem.

Typically, the first solution that comes to mind is medication. However, before you start down that path it’s important to know everything you can about these medications and the potentially negative effects they can have. To assist you in that endeavor, we’re taking a close look into Levetiracetam.

When Your Dog Has Seizures

Before you start in on learning about medication, it’s important to know more about the illness. Essentially, seizures are understood to result from electrical activity in the brain that has lost control. As a result, convulsions and other symptoms take place in the body. Generally speaking, around 5% of all dogs can have issues with epilepsy and the seizures that come with it. Because of the loss of control, it’s a good idea to find ways to limit the amount of seizures as much as possible.

Dog Seizure Causes

While most seizures are part of an inherited condition known as idiopathic epilepsy, there can be some other causes for them.

These conditions can typically result in seizures:
  • Kidney failure
  • Brain trauma
  • Liver disease
  • Brain tumors
  • Toxins

Triggers For Dog Seizures

When you have a dog that is prone to seizures, it’s important to know what kinds of things can trigger them. Some of these triggers can include stress, anxiety and excitement. For those who have anxious dogs, it’s a good idea to get a handle on the anxiety as well as the epilepsy.

Which Breeds Are More Likely To Have Seizures?

It can be very helpful to know that there are some breeds that can tend to have epilepsy more than others.

The following breeds are more likely to suffer from epilepsy:
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Vizlas
  • Keeshonds
  • Beagles
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Belgian Tervuren dogs

Looking At Levetiracetam For Dogs

Now that we’ve looked into seizures a bit, let’s take a look at Levetiracetam for dogs. Firstly, the name Levetiracetam is the generic name. The available brand name for this medication is Keppra. It’s used to treat both cats and dogs who experience issues with epilepsy.

One of the benefits of Levetiracetam is that it can also be used with another anticonvulsant medicine. As a result, the dosage of the other medication can be lowered pretty decently. Considering that these other medications can come with highly adverse side effects.

Traditional Medications Versus Levetiracetam

For many, Levetiracetam represents a breath of fresh air because it doesn’t contain harmful ingredients that can often be found in other options. These can include potassium bromide and phenobarbital, which can cause problems for many dogs who take the medication.

Furthermore, these ingredients aren’t always going to be able to keep the seizures at bay by themselves. This can be a huge issue because not only is your dog dealing with especially troubling side effects, but they also aren’t getting much in the way of benefits. Because of these issues, Levetiracetam for dogs is prescribed to help to provide more benefits with fewer negative effects.

Phenobarbital Warnings

There are both short and long-term issues that can occur while taking medications using this ingredient. The short-term effects can include fatigue, ataxia, nervousness and lethargy. Meanwhile, long-term issues may include liver damage as well as anemia.

Potassium Bromide Warnings

Similarly, potassium bromide can also provide some nasty side effects for your pet. Short term issues with this ingredient can be ataxia, irritability, instability and vomiting. For the long term, more serious side effects can include failure or disease of important organs due to bromide toxicity.

Levetiracetam For Dogs: Benefits

For the most part, Levetiracetam assists with keeping side effects of other medications to a minimum while providing more help with seizures. So if you have a pet that currently uses other medications, especially those including potassium bromide or phenobarbital, it can be a good idea to ask your vet about Keppra. It’s also worth taking a look at if your pet isn’t currently on a medication for epilepsy.

Keppra For Dogs: Downfalls

Some can find Keppra to be a bit on the expensive side. However, you can use the generic version at a much lower cost. Currently, the most difficult aspect of this medication is that it does need to be provided three times every day.

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Dosage Of Keppra For Dogs

Keppra tablets can come in a variety of dosages from 250mg all the way to 1,000mg. That way, dogs of all sizes can receive the benefits of this medication. However, it is an option that breaks down in your dog’s body very quickly. Consequently, it has to be given to them three times a day.

Side Effects Of Levetiracetam

Although Keppra has been found to be safer than many other anti-seizure options, it’s still not a perfect medication. As a result, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects.

  • Behavioral changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal issues

Keppra For Dogs Precautions

Not only are there side effects, but there are also conditions under which you should not use Keppra for your dog. Before using the medication, it’s wise to make sure you understand these conditions fully, as well as what can result if dogs with these conditions receive the drug.

Levetiracetam For Dogs And Kidneys

If your dog experiences kidney issues as well as seizures, you may want to double-think this medication. Although it does tend to be easier on your dog than other options, it can negatively impact dogs that already experience some issues with their kidney functioning.

Keppra And Pregnancy

For dogs that are pregnant, Keppra is not a good option. This medication is one that can increase the possibility of miscarriage. It’s also not good to provide the medication to a dog that is nursing, as it’s not going to be good for very young, nursing puppies.

Counteractions Of Levitiracetam

This medication is one that may not always mix well with other medications. Consequently, it’s important to make sure that you don’t pair it with Deramaxx, Rimadyl or other NSAID medications. There can also be cases when it may not agree with medications your dog presently receives, such as those including Phenobarbital.

Ceasing Keppra

If for some reason your dog needs to stop taking Keppra, then it’s best to discuss the situation with your vet and then follow their guidelines for stopping the medication in the safest possible way. Otherwise, your dog can begin to experience erratic seizure activity, and convulsions that can be life threatening.

Conventional Medication Dangers

With epilepsy and seizures becoming an epidemic among dogs. Because of the increase in impossibly difficult disorders like these, owners are forced to find the best answers they can. While conventional medications can be very helpful in many situations, there are some dangers to keep in mind.

As an example, vital organs need to be monitored with anti-convulsant medications that are more conventional. Many of these medications can have effects on the kidneys and liver that can be irreversible and result in failure of these organs. Owners can often be left wondering if the benefits are worth the drawbacks.

On top of that, types of epilepsy that are drug resistant can limit the benefits even when you administer the medication correctly. In these cases, the drawbacks remain but your dog gets no benefits from the potentially dangerous effects of the ingredients.

More Seizures From Anti-Seizure Medications?

Furthermore, toxins and chemicals that are rather dangerous can build up in your dog’s body. As a result, more seizures can occur. Simultaneously, life-threatening seizures and cluster seizures can begin if you try to cease using the medication. Keep in mind that Levetiracetam has been discovered to be quite a bit more safe than other options, but the risks still exist.

Alternate Brands Of Anti-Seizure Medications

Aside from Levetiracetam, there are some other medications that are worth having an understanding of. These include Zonisamide and Primidone. While Levetiracetam for dogs is one of the top-running choices, it’s good to understand the other options available so that you can be well-armed.


For the short term, this medication can result in vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea and losing coordination. For the long term, issues like skin reactions, hyperthermia and blood disorders can occur.


The effects of this medication that can take place in the short term, are lethargy, ataxia and weight loss. In addition, fibrosis, hepatic necrosis and liver cirrhosis can occur when the medication is used for the long term.

Alternatives For Levetiracetam

Holistic healing options can be ideal for not only helping your pet to get relief from symptoms, but also to cure the source of the problem. Furthermore, these options are perfect for those looking to avoid the nasty side effects that can come from standard medications.

CBD For Your Dog

CBD oil is one of the most recent holistic wellness advancements on the market today. CBD for dogs comes from hemp plants, and is able to help your pet in a number of ways while avoiding adverse reactions. It’s also fantastic for handling anxiety, stress and even reducing the spread and creation of cancer cells.

CBD to Manage Seizures

One of the most important effects of CBD is that it can ease and treat seizures very well. As a result, epilepsy can be much more managed overall. It’s also great for those who have dogs that don’t respond well to conventional options.

Our Top Product Choices

If you want to try out CBD, take a look at these great options!


For those who enjoy ease and complete control over the dosing, this is a fantastic choice. You can easily place a drop of this CBD oil right into your dog’s mouth or mix it up with their kibbles!

CBD Treats

If oil seems like too much of a hassle, Innovet makes both hemp treats and chews that dogs absolutely love.

Your dog will surely love these Soft CBD Chews. They taste like apples and turkey and are a great way to help with your dog’s mood, digestion and overall health. It’s a great option to assist epilepsy while giving your pet a delicious treat!

CBD Side Effects

You may wonder about the side effects of CBD, which is a wise way to think! Pet owners will be happy to know that this natural substance has essentially zero side effects.

Diet Changes

A diet that is specifically formulated can be fantastic for dogs who need help with epilepsy. For example, diets that contain a lot of fat and lower amounts of carbohydrates, or a ketogenic diet, can be ideal. Experts also recommend a raw food diet. Any of these options can help your dog with their health overall. Talking to a holistic vet can give you a clear idea of exactly how these diet changes can help your dog!

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If you’re willing to take the lesser-known path, regular acupuncture has also shown that it can be a great way to help reduce and keep control of seizures in both humans and dogs. Yet another great option to have, though it may not be everyone’s top choice.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure?

Seeing your dog have a seizure can be terrifying, but it’s important to know what to do if it happens. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure any loud noises or bright lights are removed, so that the area can be mellow and quiet. If you have other animals that might disrupt the pet having a seizure, they should be placed somewhere else temporarily until the convulsions are over.

Essentially, anything loud or sudden can scare your pet and cause further seizures. Keeping things calm can help them to relax and get through the convulsions in a more gentle way.

Being Aware

For pet owners, it’s a good idea to make sure that you keep up with any new information available for epilepsy in animals. There are new discoveries being made all the time, which can let you know what substances might add to seizure problems as well as which can help.

If your dog has an epileptic seizure, it is essential that you are as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to trying to treat seizures in dogs with epilepsy.

Levetiracetam For Dogs: A Final Thought

All in all, you are your pet’s best advocate. Dog owners have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing what your pet needs, and at the end of the day, what your pet takes for seizures is ultimately up to you. Whether you are interested in giving levetiracetam to your dog or you would rather pursue other anti seizure medications, making the ultimate decision is easier when you have all of the information.

Ask as many questions as you need to in order to make a final decision regarding levetiracetam and your dog’s seizures. While it is not an easy feat to tackle, you should remember that your dog needs you the most because you are his or her greatest advocate, meaning you should ask for more information or speak up if you are confused.

Inquire about the signs to look out for with epilepsy in dogs as well as the symptoms you can expect to see in dogs with epilepsy. Learning about what you should look for can make it easier to spot any signs or symptoms of epilepsy in dogs. Sometimes, being the parent of a furry family member can get very difficult especially when you are facing something very new, like seizures in your pets.

Unfortunately, seizures are not as uncommon as many people might assume, making it all the more necessary for pet parents to look into the signs and symptoms of dog seizures. The truth of the matter is that dog seizures are something that a lot of dog owners will encounter and have to learn how to handle on behalf of their dogs. It’s not always a walk in the park, but similar to other relationships and responsibilities, it’s imperative that you are there for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It all starts with being informed and entering situations with open arms. Be ready to learn, grow, and expand your understanding of the health of your dog. Keep an eye out for the many various signs and symptoms of epilepsy. Even if your dog doesn’t have a diagnosis of epilepsy, your ability to spot the possible signs of epilepsy can be a total lifesaver for your pup.

That’s how many cases of dog epilepsy are pinpointed in the first place. In order for your dog’s vet to diagnosis your pet with epilepsy, there will need to be some signs or symptoms present that bring the situation to your vet’s attention in the first place. From there, your vet can analyze the situation after you contact them and say that you believe something is wrong.

Knowing as much as you possibly can about epilepsy can change the entire game. Similarly, learning more about the medication options available for pets with epilepsy can be incredibly useful. Just because a vet says an anti seizure medication is safe doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort to learn about levetiracetam for yourself.

By learning about the benefits and downfalls of medications, as well as negative reactions and holistic options that can help, you can make decisions to more effectively keep your pet healthy and happy. Remember that epilepsy doesn’t mean the end of your pet’s life is upcoming any time soon. Plus, with proper treatment, many epileptic dogs can live happy, long lives. Every day, new medicines such as Levetiracetam are in development to help limit side effects and maximize the life of your pet.


Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade

Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.

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