As anyone who has ever had the pleasure of owning a dog knows, dogs are very special animals. They love unconditionally, add joy and fun to our lives, and are truly more than just pets – they are a part of our families. Because this is true, we want to make sure that our dogs, like everyone else we love, stay as healthy and active as possible. While dogs certainly do have health issues that are different than those we encounter as people, in some cases, the diseases we struggle with are much the same. Epilepsy is one such condition. Canine epilepsy is, in fact, the most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs.
What Is Canine Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is actually the most common neurological disorder found in dogs. Estimates indicate that it affects somewhere between 3 to 5% of the canine population, overall. Epilepsy in dogs, like in humans, is characterized by the occurrence of unprovoked seizures resulting from abnormalities in the brain. While certain breeds are more prone to epileptic seizures than others, it is a condition that can affect any type of dog.
Various treatments have been attempted to address canine epilepsy – some with more success than others. In some cases, surgery can be performed to remove tumors or other structural abnormalities that may contribute to seizures. In other situations, corticosteroid medications and anticonvulsant medications are attempted. As is the case with people, the type of medication prescribed will depend upon the type of epilepsy that the dog has, as well as any other pertinent health circumstances or conditions that may apply.
Some prescription medications commonly prescribed to dogs for seizures include phenobarbital, potassium bromide, diazepam, and other similar anticonvulsant drugs. While some of these drugs are somewhat effective in managing the seizures, they can sometimes also have serious side effects for the dog in question. As a result, many pet owners are attempting to find alternative, more natural methods to treat seizures in their dogs. CBD is one such option and has been steadily gaining popularity with pet owners across the country.
What Dog Owners Should Know about CBD
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is extracted directly from the hemp varietal of the cannabis plant. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant. Cannabinoids, like CBD, provide beneficial health effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system already present in the human body, as well as in other mammals, like dogs. What exactly is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for helping our body to maintain its homeostasis, or internal balance. The endocannabinoid system accomplishes this by utilizing a series of receptors that are affected by cannabinoids – both those that our bodies naturally produce and those from outside sources, like CBD. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating any number of processes in the body, including metabolism, inflammation, pain, temperature, the secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones, and many other functions. When cannabinoids like CBD are ingested, they interact with the receptors present in the endocannabinoid system to produce positive health effects. This works in much the same way for people as it does for pets.
CBD and Epilepsy
While CBD has been shown to provide any number of health benefits, it has been found to be particularly effective with respect to helping to control seizures. In fact, Epidiolex is a drug that has recently been approved by the FDA for seizures and is the only prescription form of CBD thus far available. CBD is known to help control seizures by having a range of biochemical effects on nerve cells in the brain, many of which have an impact on seizures.
Because CBD has been found to be effective in treating seizures in people, many are currently investigating its potential benefits for canines as well. In fact, the American Kennel Club recently conducted a large scale study to examine the effects of CBD on seizure activities in dogs. In conducting that study, the spokespeople for the AKC stated,
“Regarding the epilepsy study specifically, it is important work because we are constantly searching for effective anti-convulsant drug to treat epilepsy and dogs. The drugs we currently have available frequently cause intolerable side effects or do not work well enough to control the seizures. Therefore, if CBD does prove to be an effective anti-convulsant, this would affect thousands of dogs worldwide.”
While the results of the AKC study are still being processed, other smaller scale studies have also been conducted with a good deal of success. A recent study at Colorado State University, for example, showed extremely promising results. In that study, 16 dogs were studied – nine were treated for epilepsy with CBD, and the remaining seven were treated with a placebo. The results of the study indicated that 89% of the dogs to receive the CBD showed a reduction in the frequency of their seizures.
What CBD Products Are Best for Dogs with Seizures?
Like people, every pet is different. Each pet has its own unique set of circumstances and individual health needs. As a result, a dosage of CBD that might be appropriate for one might not be suitable for another. While it can take some trial and error to determine exactly the right product and dosage for your pet, many pet owners quickly find the ideal fit. Doing so can mean a significant difference in your pet’s overall level of health and well-being, not only with respect to the treatment of seizures, but also in any number of other beneficial ways. At Rejuvia, we know that your pets are an important part of your family. You want them to live their best lives with optimal health and energy. That’s why we would be glad to discuss your pet’s health needs with you, as well as what products might be a good fit for helping your pet to achieve a greater overall level of health and well-being. Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.