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Does cbd oil work for epilepsy in dogs

CBD Oil and Dog Seizures

This article explores the topics of seizures and epilepsy in dogs. In particular, it looks at some of the research on the natural compound cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, and its anticonvulsant properties. Finally, it covers the state of research in veterinary medicine regarding CBD for dog seizures.

According to the AKC Health Foundation, seizures in dogs can have a variety of causes, including exposure to toxins, illness, injury, a specific stimulus (such as a loud noise) or problems with metabolism. Three basic categories of seizures in dogs have been identified:

• Idiopathic Epilepsy: The most common type of seizure activity in dogs, particularly dogs between six months and six years of age. “Idiopathic” means that after using diagnostic testing to rule out possible conditions, there is no identifiable cause for the seizures. It is thought that at least some of these idiopathic seizures are inherited conditions, as some breeds, including Boxers and other Bully types, seem to have them more frequently.

Although a single epileptic seizure may not cause any lasting harm, multiple seizures over a short period of time, or seizures lasting more than a few minutes, can damage a dog’s brain and predispose the dog to more frequent and severe seizure activity in the future.

• Structural Epilepsy: Damage to the brain, from either illness or injury. An example would be brain damage after a head injury, stroke or inflammatory disease. In many, but not all, cases, other behavioral or motor-coordination changes may also be present. Dogs who are less than one year or more than five years old at the time seizures begin are more likely to have structural epilepsy or reactive seizures than to have idiopathic epilepsy. Diagnostic tests, such as blood work and an MRI of the brain, are often needed to identify the underlying cause of the seizure activity.

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• Reactive Seizures: Seizures in response to a known trigger, such as a certain type of food or a poison. While not considered a marker for epilepsy, this type of seizure can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition such as hypoglycemia, electrolyte imbalances or hepatic encephalopathy. Reactive seizures can sometimes be cured if the underlying problem can be identified and corrected.

While some seizures may be relatively benign (for example, idiopathic head tremors common to Bully breeds), in other cases, they may be a sign of a serious medical condition such as acute poisoning, injury or an illness that needs immediate medical care. If your dog experiences a seizure, consult your veterinarian, who will perform the diagnostic tests necessary to rule out a serious problem and to suggest a course of treatment.

Traditional Medications for Seizures in Dogs

Treatment of canine seizures varies depending on their root cause. This may include dietary changes; treating an underlying cause (such as a metabolic disorder); and/or the use of anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, zonisamide and levetiracetam.

One of the things to keep in mind about anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals is that once a dog goes on them, most veterinarians are likely to recommend that they stay on them for life. In cases of idiopathic epilepsy, where the seizures are short and infrequent and more serious causes have been ruled out, you and your vet may decide not to put your dog on an anticonvulsant medication and instead, deal with occasional seizures when they occur.

Research on CBD and Epilepsy

The FDA approved the first pharmaceutical drug based on CBD oil in 2018 under the brand name Epidiolex. This drug is now being used to treat rare forms of drug-resistant childhood epilepsy. Unlike other drugs that use synthetic versions of the compounds found in the cannabis family of plants, this medication for seizures is the first to be based on an extract from the hemp plant itself: cannabidiol (CBD).

The move came as no surprise. In fact, robust scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated the anticonvulsant properties of this natural compound, which were known as long ago as 1973. CBD shares this property with several other cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis family, although, unlike its cousin THC, cannabidiol has no psychoactive effect. That is, it doesn’t cause a high or have a euphoric effect. As a result, over the last few decades, it has been the subject of dozens of medical studies concerning its antiseizure properties.

Research into cannabis-based medicine has been hindered by legal issues surrounding cannabis. However, when the 2018 Farm Bill reinstated the agricultural production of hemp in the United States, the door was opened for scientists to finally investigate the medicinal properties of this special strain of cannabis, which is very high in CBD and very low in THC.

Research on CBD Oil for Dog Seizures

It’s common for research in veterinary medicine to fall several years behind human medicine. In the case of cannabis, the same issues that limited research in human medicine—funding and the legal status of cannabis use—have also affected the veterinary community.

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However, because the anticonvulsant properties of CBD have been known by the scientific community for quite some time, the change in the legal status of hemp and the FDA approval of Epidiolex encouraged veterinary researchers to investigate the safety of CBD oil for dog seizures, as well as its potential in veterinary medicine.

Leaders in this area include researchers at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University. In June 2019, they released the findings of the first clinical trial on the effects of hemp oil for seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy who were also undergoing traditional anticonvulsant therapies.

Although the sample size was relatively small (n=26), the results were encouraging. The CBD group was administered 2.5 mg/kg twice daily for 12 weeks in addition to their antiseizure medication, while the control group stayed on antiseizure medication alone. Although both groups showed response to treatment (defined as a 50 percent or more reduction in seizures), those who received the CBD oil in addition to the traditional anticonvulsant showed a 33 percent median reduction in the frequency of seizures over the dogs who received only traditional anticonvulsant drugs.

To put it more simply, this study showed that CBD enhanced the antiseizure effects of traditional medications. The researchers also noted a positive correlation between the plasma concentration of CBD and a proportionate reduction in seizures, suggesting that more research needs to be done on how CBD is metabolized in canines to establish the best dosing guidelines.

Thanks to a grant from the AKC Health Foundation, the same group of researchers aims to start a new clinical trial with a larger sample of epileptic dogs, and is currently seeking participants. This 12-week trial should result in new insights into the effectiveness of CBD oil for dog epilepsy.

What to Look for in a High-Quality CBD Oil for Dogs

If you’re considering CBD oil for your dog, work with your veterinarian to make sure you have a proper diagnosis and an approved treatment plan first. If you and your vet decide to try CBD as part of a treatment plan for your dog’s seizures, do your research to find a high-quality CBD oil made especially for pets.

The CBD market is a rapidly growing and largely unregulated industry. That being said, there are some great products out there. To ensure that you’re getting the highest-quality pet CBD products, look for companies that:

• Source their CBD from sustainable hemp farmers who make sure their soil is free of harmful toxins, which can make a dog very sick.

• Carefully and safely extract CBD using high-quality CO2 extraction. This extraction method uses low temperatures and pressures that preserve the therapeutic nutrients of the hemp plant. It’s also an eco-friendly method that’s better for the planet.

• List all the active and inactive ingredients found in each of their CBD pet products. This includes flavors, carrier oils and the exact milligrams (mg) of CBD.

• Have their products thoroughly tested by an accredited third party to ensure that the final product is accurately labeled, effectively potent and safe for your dog to consume.

• Provide all lab test results and additional testing information about their CBD pet products on their website.

• Offer outstanding customer service. Providing a well-trained and well-informed support team should outweigh product profitability.

• Has a commitment to animal welfare. Look for a charitable company that partners with animal rescue organizations by donating both a portion of their sales as well as products to rescue groups working to help abandoned, neglected and abused companion animals find their forever homes.

CBD Oil For Treating Seizures & Epilepsy In Dogs

Dog seizures and epilepsy in general are scary for anyone to witness, but when it is your dog, it is emotionally wrecking to watch. It leaves you feeling helpless and distraught, which is the opposite of how we like to feel when it comes to our babies. We want them to know they are safe with us and that we will take care of them, no matter what.

Dogs seizures and epilepsy in dogs can be difficult to treat because there are many possible causes for them. CBD is a discovery that has proven to help with seizures in humans. It’s not a big jump to think that it could help pets as well. Many people have been using CBD oil as a natural therapy for dog seizures of all types with promising results.

What is CBD Oil?

Canine CBD oil is an extracted from hemp plants. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants (hemp is in the cannabis family). CBD is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is equally as familiar to most people as tetrahydrocannabinol THC is.

Tetrahydrocannabinol THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that is responsible for the head high experienced from using it. But CBD products derived from a hemp plant are free of toxins, psychoactive properties, and other high related side effects. Hemp is free from THC because the hemp plant itself contains less than 0.3% of THC in the first place.

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With such a small amount of THC, hemp is considered free from it because this value is considered a trace amount. All canine CBD products are free of low quality ingredients and any related toxins.

Luckily, CBD doesn’t have that impact on the brain, but it still has many of the same medicinal uses as marijuana. Dogs, however, cannot have tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s toxic for them, so you should avoid THC products. High quality CBD, however, is safe for them. So far, there have been no documented ill-effects from the use of CBD for dogs, or humans for that matter.

The Many Treatment Options for Dogs with Epilepsy

Before we dive into the benefits of CBD oil for dog seizures, let’s explore medications used to treat dog seizures that aren’t CBD products. CBD oils are an all natural way of helping dogs with seizures and seizure control but there are many other treatment options for dog seizures, including:

  • Potassium bromide
  • Anticonvulsant drugs
  • Treatment for pain relief
  • Phenobarbital
  • Diazepam

What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Dog Seizures?

So, if there are already many different treatment options for seizures in dogs, then why do people turn to CBD oil for dog seizures? Well, it all comes down to the way CBD oil offers numerous benefits, the first of which is the fact that CBD products don’t contain any unnatural ingredients. In other words, everything about CBD is natural.

CBD comes from a hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis plant family. However, hemp is not the same as the cannabis everyone assumes it is. While cannabis can get you high, a hemp plant is different because it doesn’t have enough THC to cause those psychotropic side effects. Instead, hemp can be used to treat pain from a head injury, offer relief from pain, and provide you with a way to manage your dog’s symptoms from seizures in dogs.

Plus, dog owners should know that a dogs body is already equipped with the internal processes that allow them to consume CBD oils for dog seizures. In your dog’s body, there are what’s known as CB1 receptors which are responsible for breaking down CBD molecules. They play a role in making CBD dog effective for seizures in dogs and helping dogs with seizures find relief from seizure discomfort.

CB1 receptors are a natural receptor in the body. But what is a receptor? Essentially, they are a main player in the overall functionality of the brain. They make it possible for compounds, molecules, and other elements that pass through the brain-blood barrier to be broken down effectively. There are numerous different kinds of receptors in the brain, and they all serve their own unique function.

Basically, these receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is similar to the nervous system. However, the main difference is the purpose that these systems are designed for, with the endocannabinoid receptor being responsible for breaking down CBD and the nervous system existing for the purpose of regulating your dog’s homeostasis.

Is CBD Legal for Dogs?

One question that pops up all the time asks if cannabidiol is safe in the first place. Well, thanks to the signing of the Farm Bill of 2018, CBD has been legal, coast to coast, in the USA since January 1st, 2019. Before that, there had been an easing of regulations. However, before then, CBD still wasn’t legal worldwide. Did you know that one of the first places to legalize CBD is Colorado State? Many other US states followed suit.

Speaking of Colorado, many studies have been conducted regarding CBD for dogs at Colorado State University. Awhile back, researchers at Colorado State University, including Dr. Stephanie McGrath, started looking into the effects of CBD on canine seizures in dogs. Currently, researchers are continuing to conduct research in an attempt to better understand how CBD is absorbed by the bodies of cats and dogs.

We already know that the endocannabinoid system makes it possible for dogs and cats to consume, digest, and make use of cannabidiol CBD. Also known as the ECS receptors, the endocannabinoid system is like a nervous system for cannabidiol CBD. Just like the nervous system, the ECS is a natural system in our bodies that contains cb1 receptors and other related receptors.

Pet owners and their pets alike all have an endocannabinoid system. Within the ECS, there are endocannabinoid receptors which bind to CBD molecules found in CBD products. Without endocannabinoid receptors, a doga wouldn’t be able to break down CBD oils.

Researchers in Colorado are taking it a step further by looking at dogs seizures and how CBD is digested by a dog’s body. Through a clinical trial, researchers are able to look more closely at the effects of CBD on seizures in dogs and cats, too.

The new bill addressed the issue in a far more direct manner, making hemp products legal to manufacture and possess/use. The bill opened the door for CBD oil, produced from hemp, to be sold anywhere, in all 50 states within the US. Some places in the world still haven’t made CBD use legal, so it is best to check before you pack it for traveling out of the country. You should only use it and take it where it is legal or risk legal repercussions in those countries.

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What Effects Does CBD Have on a Dog?

Dog owners should do their thorough research before giving dog CBD oil to their dogs with epilepsy. Even though a CBD product is considered safe, the health of your dog is a priority and you should always look into the quality of CBD oil for dogs with dog seizures before administering CBD oil to your dog.

In terms of the effects that CBD oil has on a dog, it has been shown in more than one CBD clinical trial that CBD oil has been used as a pain reliever and seizure reducing supplement when given to dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Many owners report that it has lessened the severity and frequency of dog seizures. Many times, there is pain that follows seizures because of the intense cramping of muscles during seizures. CBD can also help manage this pain.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects for Dogs?

There are very few, and rare, side-effects from using CBD oil for dogs. The thing most reported is diarrhea. Issues with digestion only seem to happen if the dog or cat ingests too much right away. It takes time for them to adjust to the oil in its system. If diarrhea starts, lower the dose or even skip it for a day or two until it regulates. Then start the treatments again at a lower dosage.

Cannabidiol treats anxiety in many cases, which gives your pet a sense of control again. Anxiety can have physical symptoms that heighten the side effects of a seizure, so adding CBD as part of a dog’s seizure treatment plan can help alleviate anxiety stemming from every seizure, too!

How Much CBD Should You Give a Dog with Seizures?

Speaking of dosage, a dog with seizures will not need the same amount of CBD as every other dog with seizures. Rather, a dog with seizures will require a unique dose based on their body weight. Your dog’s CBD dosage will also depend on existing health problems beyond the seizure they experience frequently, but a seizure will also play a role in calculating the right dosage for your dog with seizures.

When preparing the administer cannabidiol to a dog experiencing seizures, it’s important to read the label on the bottle. Some labels will encourage you to administer a dog’s dosage twice a day, while others will recommend one daily dosage instead.

With seizures, a dog’s frequency may differ. It all comes down to how your dog’s brain responds to each frequency of CBD. For instance, some dogs with seizures may benefit from a higher frequency of two or three doses per day, whereas dogs with less severe seizures might just need one dose per day.

The health of your dog is all that matters, and it’s important to get their health under control, which CBD treats, oils, and supplements can help with! Dogs should be at least 12 weeks old before taking treats or other products. Since seizures stem from the brain, and CBD affects the brain, your dog’s vet will want to make sure your dog’s brain is developed enough before taking it.

How Can I Get a Hold of CBD Oil?

The first thing that you should do, especially if your pet is receiving treatment for any medical issues, is to speak to your veterinarian. Because you work with your veterinarian as a team for your pet’s health, you should both be on the same page. Find out what your vet thinks about using CBD oil and get his permission first.

You also will want to do some research. As fast as you learn about CBD dog, there is new information coming forth. The sheer speed at which research is coming out is mind-boggling. It’s essential to learn as much about it as you can, what is a suitable type of oil, what is the best CBD oil for dogs, and which delivery method you feel is best for your pet. There are treats, edibles, drops, and more that you can choose to give doses to your dog.

Is CBD the Right Option for My Dog?

It is possible. There’s no way to know for sure until you try it and use it long enough to get to the right dose. The research done so far shows that CBD can have a tremendous positive impact on seizure activity. Follow the recommendations, speak to your vet, and do your research. Learn as much as you can so that you can choose a high-quality oil. The more you learn, the better odds you’ll have at helping your dog with CBD.