Seizures in dogs are scary, and there are many possible causes. The good news is that CBD can be effective at reducing their frequency and intensity.
If you’re ever witnessed a dog undergoing a seizure, you know how frightening it is. The very first step, of course, is to get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for examination, tests and diagnosis. Treatment will vary, depending on the cause, but CBD is showing a lot of promise as a way to calm the intensity and frequency of the seizures. To learn more, we spoke with Rob Kovler of Animal Nutritional Products.
Q: What can cause seizures in dogs?
A: This is an interesting and somewhat difficult question to answer. A veterinarian will look for any type of head injury, a possible stroke, kidney disease, brain cancer or inflammation, encephalitis or poisoning. Further tests can narrow down the cause, as can observation by the dog parent and/or veterinarian. In about 6% of cases, canine epilepsy is idiopathic, meaning the cause of the seizures can’t be determined.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms?
A: The most obvious signs of a seizure are if your dog falls or collapses, and starts jerking uncontrollably and foaming at the mouth. Other signs may not be as dramatic, and include head shaking that doesn’t seem normal, wobbling from side to side when walking, a lack of response to your calls or cues, and confusion. If you observe any of these signs, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Q: How does CBD help alleviate seizures?
A: CBD is believed to address the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. One clinical study, conducted by Dr. Stephanie McGrath from Colorado State University and concluded in 2017, used CBD (with less than 0.3% THC) on18 dogs with seizures. Nine of the dogs (50%) reacted well to CBD (they were also required to stay on anticonvulsant drugs, including phenobarbital and potassium bromide). Anecdotal evidence from dog parents also seems to be showing positive results, but more research is needed. Further clinical studies are underway, and we should have more concrete answers in a few years.
Q: How should CBD be used when it comes to dosage?
A: This depends on many factors, including the dog’s weight and the severity of his condition. Dosage should be started low and slowly increased by 0.25 mg to 0.50 mg intervals. It can range from 2 mgs per 1 kg (2.2 lbs) to 10 mgs per 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight. Given once or even twice a day, CBD may eventually help lower the number of seizures per month. CBD is usually orally administered via a liquid directly before a seizure. Do not give a dog CBD (or anything else) while a seizure is happening, since it could lead to choking.
Q: How do I find a CBD product for my dog?
A: Before purchasing any CBD product, whether at a store or online, please research the company carefully or seek the advice of your veterinarian. If your vet can’t advise you, call the company and ask them questions pertaining to your dog’s situation. Always ask for a third party analysis – this is a must. And keep in mind that just because a company sells a CBD product for animals, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know much about animal health!
Q: Can CBD oil interact with conventional seizures meds?
A: We don’t know the complete answer to this yet. The study mentioned above showed that CBD was used in conjunction with seizure medications with no adverse side effects. However, since CBD is still new to human and veterinary medicine, there is much more research to be done and more to be learned.
While there are still many questions to be answered about the efficacy of CBD for seizures, it may be worth a try if your own dog has this problem. Just be sure to work with your veterinarian to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment protocol for your dog’s seizure disorder, then try carefully adding in a high quality CBD product to see if it makes a difference.anim