When your pet has a seizure, it is a traumatic experience. Seizures can occur for various reasons:
- A once-in-a-lifetime event
- A reaction to ingesting poison
- A residual effect of a head injury
- An illness
Seizures in young pets are often caused by a condition called epilepsy. If your pet has epilepsy, understanding this disorder and how to make your pet more comfortable can improve your pet’s quality of life. Epilepsy is a condition involving multiple seizures occurring over a period time and is often the diagnosis when underlying health issues such as a brain tumor have been ruled out. Epilepsy is a common neurological disease in dogs and occurs less in cats and other pets.
Sometimes you can tell when your pet is about to have a seizure. He or she may:
- Act nervous
When your pet does have a seizure, he or she may:
- Shake uncontrollably
- Paddle the arms and legs
It’s not uncommon for your pet to lose control of their bladder or bowels during a seizure. It is important not to stick anything in your pet’s mouth while he or she is having a seizure, because they can bite down hard without realizing what they are doing. Right before or during a seizure, make sure your pet isn’t near a pool, stairs, or in any position where falling is dangerous.
One important step you can take to help your epileptic pet is to start a seizure log. This will not only help you keep track of the frequency of your pet’s seizures, it will also be beneficial to aid your pet’s veterinarian with treatment. You will hopefully be able to recognize any patterns or trends that emerge and any possible seizure triggers. The log will also let you know if your pet’s seizures are improving or getting worse with time. Things to include in a seizure log are:
- Date and time of the seizure
- Length of time of the seizure
- What your pet was doing
- How she was acting prior to the seizure starting
- A description of the seizure
- Your pet’s behavior after the seizure ends
- Be sure to include what medications your pet is taking and any changes to those medications
Treatment of seizures is very important as even short seizures can cause lasting brain injury. Unfortunately, there is no cure for epilepsy, but seizure activity can be controlled with treatment. Both the number of seizures your pet experiences, and the frequency at which they occur can be minimized. Your pet’s veterinarian may prescribe antiepileptic drugs.
While these drugs may be useful in controlling seizure activity, they can cause undesirable side effects such as:
- Central nervous system depression
- Weight gain
- Liver toxicity
Cannabidiol or CBD
CBD has an important role in the future of medicine. CBD is a primary component of the cannabis plant. It is non-psychoactive, which means that it doesn’t produce the “high” commonly associated with marijuana.
CBD is currently used by many patients (human and animal) who seek an alternative form of therapy without the unwanted side effects of typical drugs.
Compelling research has shown that CBD may inhibit both seizure activity and the severity of such activity 1 and 2. Study results have “point[ed] to CBD being of potential therapeutic use…in the treatment of epilepsies.”3 Studies also indicate that the use of CBD in conjunction with certain anti-seizure medications may enhance the anticonvulsant effects of those drugs.3 Furthermore, studies indicate chronic use of CBD has not been shown to elicit negative side effects and does not induce tolerance.4
Continue to explore and learn more about cannabinoid therapy right here, as we update you on the latest research and findings.
1Jones, Nicholas A. et al. “Cannabidiol Displays Antiepileptiform and Antiseizure Properties In Vitro and In Vivo.” The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 332.2 (2010): 569–577.
2Consroe, P., Wolkin, A. (1977). Cannabidiol–antiepileptic drug comparisons and interactions in experimentally induced seizures in rats. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapuetics, 201(1), 26-32.
3Jones, N., Glyn, S., Akiyama, S., Hill, T., Hill, A., Weston, S., . . . Williams, C. (n.d.). Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures. Seizure, 344-352.
4Malfait, A., Gallily, R., Sumariwalla, P., Malik, A., Andreakos, E., Mechoulam, R., & Feldmann, M. (2000). The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 9561-9566.