Can CBD oil for dogs & cats help with seizures?

A dog or a cat having an epileptic episode could be a great source of panic for a pet owner. Luckily, advances in veterinary medicine have discovered a great natural remedy that could help manage a dog’s or a cat’s seizures: the CBD oil.

This article provides an introduction into seizure and epilepsy in dogs and cats, and how CBD oil can help naturally manage and treat this condition.

What is Seizures and Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats?

Seizures and epilepsy are more frequently reported in dogs than in cats, with only 2% of the feline global population getting diagnosed compared to the 5.7% of the dog population worldwide.

Seizures occur whenever a malfunction in the neurons (nerve cells) occur. Seizure attacks may happen once, or it may happen frequently. This is when it becomes epilepsy—a brain disorder that causes the nervous system to malfunction and cause frequent sudden and uncontrolled bodily movements.

Different Types of Seizures and Epilepsy

Seizures differ in their symptoms and their frequency. The following are the most common types of seizures and epilepsy that may affect dogs and cats.

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  • Generalized seizures

These may also be called grand mal or major motor seizures. This is the most commonly diagnosed, and usually includes gross body movements.

  • Partial seizures

More common in cats. It affects only one part of the brain and body.

  • Psychomotor seizure

Involves odd behavior (chasing the tail, attacking an imaginary object, etc.) that only lasts for a few minutes.

  • Idiopathic epilepsy

This usually happens in dogs aged 6 months to 6 years. It is more common in certain dog breeds such as Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and beagles.

  • Status epilepticus

This is the most life-threatening type of condition where there are persistent seizure attacks. Seizures last longer than 5 minutes and may eventually damage the brain.

How to Prevent Seizures and Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats

While all dogs and cats are susceptible to getting epilepsy, there are some changes you can do to minimize their risk of getting diagnosed with it.

  • For purebreds, pay attention to genetics

As mentioned, some dog breeds may be more susceptible to seizures. Ask breeders about the history of the puppy’s parents.

  • Feed a healthy diet

Dogs and cats with adequate nutrition are less susceptible not only to epilepsy but also to other diseases.

  • Get them checked regularly

Checking for brain tumors, liver disease, or blood sugar levels help minimize the risk of seizures. Early detection of health problems is the key.

  • Use remedies

Veterinarians may prescribe remedies such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide to help manage and prevent seizures. On the other hand, some vets may recommend natural remedies such as CBD oil, which will be discussed in the following sections.

Symptoms of Epilepsy in Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Some types of seizures may be noticeable while others like partial and psychomotor seizures, not so much. Here are some ways to tell if your pet may be having seizures.

  • Staring (star gazing), or spacing out
  • Repetitive jaw movements
  • Violent thrashing of limbs
  • Loss of bodily control, awareness, or consciousness
  • Jerking, stiffening, and twitching of muscles
  • Drooling
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Falling to the side
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Walking in circles and bumping into things

Natural Home Remedies for Epilepsy and Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Sometimes, epilepsy can be resistant to drug treatments, which is why most veterinarians would recommend alternative treatments and home remedies.

  • Acupuncture

Involves inserting of thin stainless needles in specific points. It is said to be effective in seizures and other conditions affecting the nervous system.

  • Chinese herbal formulas

Chinese formulas are often derived from natural ingredients. Consult your vet on which formula he or she recommends to treat your pet’s seizures.

  • Food therapy

Feeding a nutritious, high-quality diet to your pet can help reduce the symptoms of epilepsy. Using fish oil may also help.

  • CBD Oil

CBD oil is said to help control seizures, as well as manage other conditions. The oil is either mixed with the pet’s food or given straight through oral administration.

CBD Oil and Its Use for Treating Seizures and Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats

CBD oil—or cannabidiol oil—has yielded promising and exciting results in a clinical trial conducted by neurologist Dr. Stephanie McGrath. The study, which ran from 2016-2017 at the Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Teaching Hospital, shared that 89 percent of the dogs that received CBD oil during the trial were reported to have reduced seizure attacks.

CBD oil works by targeting the endocannabinoid systems of dogs and cats. Just like in humans, a pet’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis—a state wherein all internal functions of the body are balanced.

While CBD oil is sourced from cannabis plant extract, it does not have the psychoactive component of the plant—the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It also comes in a tablet form, but the oil version is much easier to give to pets.

How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog or Cat with Seizures and Epilepsy?

CBD oil may be given using a dropper directly through the dog’s mouth or by putting drops on food. Alternatively, depending on the vet’s advice, it may also be rubbed inside the ears or on their bare skin, or dropped on their paw where they can just lick it off.

The amount of CBD oil to give our dog or cat depends on their body weight. Generally, the rule is to give 0.2mg for every pound of body weight starting at 5 lbs. Please refer to the following guide. <– dosage guide here.

Sometimes, the dosage may vary, depending on the CBD oil product that you have purchased. In this case, it’s often helpful to read the labels on the bottles, or to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

While CBD oil may be beneficial for treating seizures in your dog or cat, it is not legal in some states. Check if your state has regulations on the use of cannabis before buying related products. Also, while the study mentioned the benefit of CBD oil in seizure frequency, it’s imperative to consult your veterinarian before buying or trying alternatives to anti-epileptic drugs.

References

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Seizures in Dogs and Cats

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Signs of a Possible Oncoming Seizure

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Types of Seizures

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Grand Mal Seizure

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Partial Seizure.

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Scientific Research On CBD For Seizure Care

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Can CBD Oil Help Dogs and Cats with Seizures?

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How Much CBD Oil Should a Dog or Cat Have?

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The Verdict on CBD Oil for Dogs and Cats

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References:

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