Seizures are abnormal, sudden electrical activities in the brain. There are times where seizures are persisting – this is referred to as epilepsy. Epilepsy is pretty common with people who have suffered from stroke, or head injuries – conversely, this is also very common with felines and canines.
Epilepsy is not a disease itself, but a chronic condition – it is one of the most common neurological disorders seen amongst cats and dogs. A pet owner would most likely notice stiffness, excessive salivating, and sudden and a rather violent shaking on their cat or dog; which points down to epilepsy.
Some major causes of pet seizures are genetic factors, brain tumors, liver diseases, vitamin deficiency, and thyroid problems. Generally, owners would arrange a prevention plan to address the special needs of their pets – various techniques such as giving a high quality diet with less chemicals and fillers, and regular exercise are some of the natural proven ways to lessen seizures in cats and dogs.
Epilepsy often requires life-long medication, as the body needs the regulation of the movement of neurotransmitters. There are lots of available anti-epileptic drugs in the market these days for pet epilepsy.
Veterinarians shall determine the type and frequency of seizures, to decide which AED is suitable for the treatment. Most commonly, Phenobarbital (commonly prescribed under Epiphen) and Imepitoin (Pexion) are used to lessen seizures in cats and dogs. However, these drugs cost quite a fortune, and are not readily available on all veterinary clinics.
Potassium Bromide (Libromide) is also well-known for treating seizures in dogs. These AEDs however may give minimal to worse side effects during the first weeks of treatment.
Common dose-dependent side effects include increased thirst and hunger (as a result; urination and weight gain), fatigue, panting, hyper-excitability and possibly weakness. Veterinarians will discuss with the owner what side effects may be expected with different doses of medication.
If you’re a pet owner, and you don’t want these side effects, scientists have discovered a very promising treatment for pet seizures – CBD oil. Cannabidiol (CBD), is a non-psychotropic component of the Cannabis sativa plant, which has been shown to have anticonvulsant properties.
Extracted from industrial hemp (not marijuana) and legal in some parts of the world, CBD won’t make animals high and there are no known side effects based on studies. Clinical trials have been made to CBD in both humans and animals due to the fact that all mammals have an endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids are produced by the body to maintain homeostasis – relatively stable internal state. When a condition such as epilepsy interferes with homeostasis, the internal processes widen the gap behind the body’s needs. Supplementing with the phytocannabinoids found abundantly in hemp can help restore balance.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath of Colorado State University, found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
Although medical cannabis is not legal in many other parts of the world, it may come in many convenient forms to easily treat feline and canine epilepsy. It could be in forms of syrup which could be added to food, or rubbed into bare skin or inside the ears. There are also readily available CBD biscuits and ointments.
AEDs must be always used with caution. Aside from doing lots of research, consult a veterinarian or a veterinary neurologist to ensure that you are choosing the right treatment for your pet with special needs. Work closely with a medical professional when introducing new medications to your pet’s daily regimen.