CBD for Pets with Seizures
CBD has become a popular treatment for our pets. One of the many uses of CBD for our pets is as an anticonvulsant. CBD has been FDA approved to treat epileptic seizures in humans and preliminary research suggests that CBD is an effective anticonvulsant for our pets as well as for our pets.
Seizures in Dogs
Symptoms of seizures can include; collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs can fall to the side and make paddling motions with their legs – which may look like they’re attempting to swim. These are typical characteristics of generalized seizures. Where focal seizures may only impact a portion of the body, for example, one limb as they only impact portions of the brain.
Before a seizure starts, some dogs may look dazed, seem unsteady or confused, or stare off into space. Afterward, they may be disoriented, wobbly, or temporarily blind. They may walk in circles and bump into things. They might have a lot of drool on their chin. And they may try to hide.
Seizures in Cats
Seizures in cats can look very similar to the experience of dogs. But, compared with dogs, cats more commonly exhibit partial seizures. These seizures only affect a part of the body and are much more difficult to recognize. They may manifest as drooling, eyelid or facial twitching, excessive vocalization, growling, and abnormal head, neck or limb movements. These seizures may progress to generalized seizures and may occur several times throughout the day (cluster seizure).
The Endocannabinoid System and Seizures
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body as well as a number of other important functions like mood, sleep, and appetite. Both humans and animals have the same endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid system plays an important role in synaptic neurotransmission in the brain and endocannabinoids perform neuroprotective factors involved in neuron excitability. A 2008 study, found that these neuroprotective factors were impaired in the hippocampus of people with epilepsy which indicates the importance of the endocannabinoid system in neuron excitability that leads to epileptic seizures.
Read more about the endocannabinoid system.
CBD for Pets with Seizures
To get FDA approval, drug manufacturers must conduct lab, animal, and human clinical testing then submit their data to the FDA. A drug gets approved if the agency determines the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks for its intended use. Therefore, there is sufficient research to support the use of CBD to treat seizures in humans. Read more about treating epilepsy with cannabis.
What does that mean for our pets?
Our pets have the same endocannabinoid system as us, therefore, cannabinoids such as CBD should have similar impacts on them as it does for us. Preliminary evidence suggests this is true. A small 2019 study in the state of Colorado found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. A 2012 study on rodents found CBD to be an effective anticonvulsant.
Also, many pet parents have shared their success stories in treating their pets’ seizures with CBD. That being said, consult your veterinarian, particularly if your pet is on other medications. We also hope to see more clinical research that specifically addresses the use of CBD to manage the health and wellness of our pets.
CBD Research on humans for seizures
A 2017 study found that CBD resulted in a greater decrease in convulsive-seizures than placebo and 5% of the individuals became seizure-free after taking CBD.
A 2018 study found that adding CBD (10-20mg per kilogram per day) to a traditional seizure medication decreased the frequency of drop seizures significantly in children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). LGS is a rare form of epilepsy that is characterized by regularly experiencing multiple types of seizures.
Treating your Pets Seizures with CBD
Veterinarians recommend regular doses of CBD to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
Generally, there are two methods of consumption with CBD for pets; (1) CBD treats and (2) CBD oil. The CBD oil can be dropped directly into their mouth (if they will let you) or added to their regular food or favourite treats.
The most challenging part of treating our pets with CBD is determining the most effective dose because they cannot communicate with us. It’s important to start with a small dose and increase slowly until the seizures are under control. A good starting place is 1-5 mg for cats or per 10kgs for dogs.
Take detailed notes of your pet’s symptoms prior to and after administering the dose of CBD and do not increase the dose until at least one hour has passed.
Learn more about treating your pets with CBD in our Guide for Pets.
Can you give your pet too much CBD?
Since we are unable to communicate with our pets it’s important to err on the side of caution with dosing CBD. Though it’s important to note that veterinarians and researchers have seen very few side effects.
Some side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, and sometimes a small drop in blood pressure (this often looks like lightheadedness).
CBD is a potential treatment for your pet’s seizures. Consult with your veterinarian about adding CBD into your pet’s health routine.
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