CBD for Seizures in Dogs
Daisy, a 16-year-old chihuahua rescue, came to me with a history of seizures. Before I could help Daisy, I had to fully understand what happens during a seizure and what causes them. Working with dogs for years, I knew the signs of a seizure, but nothing can really prepare you for the moment your pet starts seizing . Thankfully, CBD helped stop Daisy’s seizures while they were happening, and also helped drastically reduce the frequency of her future seizures.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Seizures in Dogs?
A seizure is a common neurological condition in dogs in which the brain’s function is involuntarily disrupted. Epilepsy is the term used to describe repeated episodes of seizures.
Symptoms that your dog is having a seizure include:
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of consciousness
- Foaming at the mouth
- Release of bowel or bladder
What Causes Seizures in Dogs?
Seizures are caused by an excess of electrical energy in your dog or cat’s brain . Individual seizures can be caused by a number of things, including ingesting poison, liver disease, fluctuating blood sugar, fever, strokes, brain cancer, anemia, electrolyte problems, or head injury.
Epilepsy is typically categorized in two ways: Idiopathic epilepsy, also called primary epilepsy and symptomatic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy has no identifiable cause and is often a genetic issue, while symptomatic epilepsy occurs when there is an identifiable underlying brain lesion or metabolic cause, like the ones mentioned above. Idiopathic epilepsy can be inherited in many breeds, however, it can occur in any breed or mixed breed, according to the American Kennel Club.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Seizing
The first thing to remember when your dog is having a seizure is to stay calm. Do not try to move the dog unless they are in an unsafe area (for example, if they are laying on the edge of a dock over water or are near a fire). If you must move the dog, try to move them from their hind legs or hips.
You can soothe your dog while they are having a seizure but keep your hands away from their mouth as they may clamp down with their jaw.
A single seizure should not last more than 5 minutes. If it does, consult an emergency veterinarian. Typically, seizures only last a few minutes and the dog will resume their normal activity afterward.
If your dog is prone to seizures, your veterinarian may prescribe phenobarbital (PB) and potassium bromide (KBr or K-BroVet Potassium Bromide). However, these medications may have negative side effects and can cause further liver damage, which is why many pet parents are turning to holistic alternatives, including full spectrum hemp extract CBD for seizures in dogs.
CBD For Seizures in Dogs
CBD has been used by humans to help reduce seizures for years and has shown great success in both animals and people. In fact, in 2003, the U.S. government patented CBD as a neuroprotectant (despite the U.S. prohibition on cannabis). CBD has been shown to have anticonvulsant properties that may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in dogs.
Because of the rise of hemp-derived CBD for pets, the effects of CBD for seizures in dogs are being studied now more than ever. The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) recently announced a major clinical trial to study CBD for drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. The foundation has funded multiple studies to help advance our understanding of the disease.
Research On CBD For Seizures in Dogs
Animal research indicates that the anti-seizure effects of CBD may result from reducing the excitability of neurons by acting on two receptor groups called GPR55 and TRPV1 receptors.
In a recent study , neurologist Stephanie McGrath assessed the short-term effect of CBD on seizure frequency in 16 dogs. Researchers randomly assigned a placebo or hemp-derived CBD to dogs in the trial for 12 weeks. Nine dogs received CBD while seven were given a placebo. All of the dogs in the study suffered from seizures.
Through the study, McGrath found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures . Additionally, McGrath saw a significant association between the degree of seizure reduction and the amount of CBD concentration in the dog’s blood .
This was not the only study to find CBD for seizures in dogs to be a successful anti-epileptic supplement.
Another group of researchers conducted a similar experiment where three dogs who suffered epileptic seizures were given hemp-derived CBD for eight weeks. Researchers found a decrease in seizure intervals in two of the three dogs studied. The dogs were given varying amounts of CBD, and the dog who received the lowest number of mg of active CBD showed little to no improvement, while the dog who was administered 1700 mg showed the highest level of improvement .
CBD Dosage For Seizures in Dogs
If you’re wondering ‘How much CBD do I give my dog for seizures?’ The answer isn’t always straight forward. Your pet’s optimal CBD for dog seizures dose depends on several factors, and is unique to your pet. Contrary to popular belief, the question of how much CBD oil to give dogs with seizures has very little to do with the size and weight of your dog.
The first step to figuring out your pet’s optimal CBD oil for dog seizures dose is trial and error. We propose using this trial and error technique to assess your animal’s response and establish the most effective dose throughout the first several weeks.
According to our Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Zac Pilossoph, “It’s all about low and slow. It’s about the gradual introduction of CBD and continuous monitoring over time. When you’re switching therapy options, whether it’s pharmaceutical to pharmaceutical, or pharmaceutical over to nutraceutical, it doesn’t matter. The process should be gradual. The process could range from weeks to months. Keep a journal so you have a daily log of what’s going on to show your veterinarian.”
Based on our experience, we have seen success with 35–50 mg of our HEAL: 1100 mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil For Dogs daily for most dogs. However, your dog may need more, or less, CBD oil for dog seizures.
Split the daily CBD dosage into several doses throughout the day (microdosing), to maintain bloodstream concentration. Microdosing helps maintain the CBD in the bloodstream, which aids in reducing seizures in dogs. CBD reaches a peak concentration at about 2 hours and is absent after approximately 6 to 8 hours. Additionally, CBD for dogs’ seizures can also be utilized situationally when your dog is experiencing an episode.
For the quickest and most complete absorption, lift your pet’s lip and apply the dosage directly onto their gums. It can also be mixed into food, and fatty foods can aid in the absorption of CBD, however the CBD will take longer (30-45 minutes) to enter the bloodstream as it passes through the digestive system, and may be less effective.
Case Study: CBD for Daisy’s Seizures
Daisy, a 16-year-old chihuahua rescue, came to me with a history of seizures (among other serious issues). When Daisy started seizing, I remained calm, but my heart was breaking for her. She had powered through so many other issues and her happy, curious spirit remained. However, the seizures were pulling her away from spending her twilight years playing and resting peacefully. Thankfully, I found that CBD was able to stop Daisy’s seizures while they were happening, as well as helping to reduce future seizure frequency.
First things first, we safely weaned her off of Phenobarbital and other pharmaceutical medications. Next, we put her on a natural CBD oil for seizures in dogs regimen and switched her to a fresh and species appropriate raw diet. Daisy experienced a drastic reduction in the number and duration of her seizures within the very first week. Within the month, Daisy was seizure-free!
Seizures are scary; we know. We have seen them firsthand. The ability to shorten a seizure, and therefore reduce the damage from a seizure, is an incredible finding in scientific research. In addition to CBD for dogs’ seizures, it is important to make sure your dig is eating a healthy, species-appropriate diet to prevent the types of liver disease, fluctuating blood sugar, anemia, and electrolyte issues that can cause seizures. We recommend a fresh/raw diet that has all the macro and micronutrients they will need, in the right proportions.
Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs With Seizures
If your dog suffers from seizures, you’ve felt the stress and helplessness. So if you’ve been researching and wondering if CBD oil for dogs with seizures is a good option … I’m glad you found this post!
It’s hard to see your dog suffer and not be able to explain to him what’s happening and why.
If you’ve visited your vet already and haven’t found any answers you’re not alone. Or maybe you’re looking for an alternative to the medication the vet prescribed?
Regardless of what brought you here today, if your dog is prone to seizures, you want a way to help … and CBD oil for dogs may be just the answer you’re looking for.
And yes, it’s legal!
Seizures In Dogs
Seizures in dogs can manifest as anything from a twitch to uncontrollable shaking. They might be over quickly, or they can last for several minutes. Causes of seizures vary from dog to dog.
There are several different things that cause seizures:
- Underlying health condition like liver or kidney disease or cancer
- Electrolyte problems
- Topical flea and tick products
- Herbicides and pesticides
- Head injury
CBD Oil For Dogs With Epilepsy
If your dog suffers from regular seizures, epilepsy might be the culprit. Epilepsy means there are bursts of uncontrolled electricity in your dog’s brain. Sometimes there’s no cure for this condition, but you can manage it naturally with CBD oil.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It’s harvested from the cannabis hemp plant. However, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no psychoactive properties .. so it won’t make your dog high.
This is because of the way CBD is structured. That structure affects CBD’s impact on the brain, nervous system and throughout the body.
The psychoactive effect of THC comes from the way it binds with receptors in the brain, called endocannabinoids. CBD also interacts with these endocannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids are found throughout the body. The highest concentration is in the brain, spinal column, and nervous system. And it’s in these organs and systems that CBD has the greatest potential to help dogs with seizures.
CBD Oil For Seizures In Dogs
Scientists are discovering a wide variety of uses in both humans and dogs. And one of the most important uses of CBD oil for dogs is in the management of seizures. Studies as well as anecdotal evidence have shown CBD to be highly effective at managing seizures. But you don’t want to give your dog something without knowing exactly what it is and what it’s going to do.
So … how does CBD oil work?
Earlier I mentioned those endocannabinoid receptors. And they’re important when it comes to CBD oil for seizures in dogs.
There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors in your dog’s body.
- The CB2 receptors – mainly in the immune system.
- The CB1 receptors – centralized in the nervous system and the brain.
It’s these CB1 receptors that have the greatest impact on your dog’s seizure treatment. Studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system is altered by seizures and epilepsy.
Research shows that CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes. Seizures can have profound effects on the endocannabinoid system. This is why CBD, through a process known as “external modulation,” can reduce and sometimes stop seizures from happening.
The exact way CBD contributes to a reduction in seizures and affects the Endocannabinoids system (ECS) is still unknown. One theory is that CBD affects the receptors that calm the neurons that fire during a seizure. But there’s still further investigation needed to learn more.
But we do know that CBD oil can have a positive effect on your dog’s seizure activity. If he feels any side effects at all, it will most probably take the form of mild drowsiness.
**Note. Even big pharma has finally recognized the power of CBD oil for seizures. And in June 2018, the FDA approved the first drug containing CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.
CBD Dose For Dogs With Seizures
CBD oil dosage for your dog depends on his size. Smaller dogs require lower dosages, of course, and larger dogs will need more to see an effect. You can make these determinations based on your dog’s weight. It’s best to follow the label directions on the product you buy.
Look for CBD oil with the following features:
- Full spectrum or broad spectrum
- Preferably organic
- Extracted using C02 extraction, without solvents or chemicals
- Manufacturer provides Certificate Of Analysis from a third party lab, showing that the product is what’s claimed on the label, and is free of contaminants, additives or preservatives
Full spectrum CBD oils in tincture form usually work best. If your dog is hard to dose, chewable tablets or treats may be easier. But be aware these products may not contain sufficient levels of CBD to help with seizures.
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CBD oil for seizures in dogs is a natural alternative with minimal side effects and a very promising future.
Carlini EA, Cunha JM. Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol. J Clin Pharmacol. 1981 Aug-Sep;21(S1):417S-427S.
Kogan L et al. US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. Front Vet Sci. 2019 Jan 10;5:338.
McGrath S et al. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 Jun 1;254(11):1301-1308.
Rosenberg EC, et al. Cannabinoids and Epilepsy. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):747-768.
Perucca E. Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last? J Epilepsy Res. 2017;7(2):61-76. Published 2017 Dec 31.