Seizures can be super scary, especially when it comes to our pets, who can’t speak and tell us what’s going on! There may be some relief hidden on your CBD store’s shelves, though, for your pet’s seizures. You can find CBD or hemp products for pets almost everywhere now, but did you know that these products may be beneficial in the treatment of seizures? In this article, we will go through why seizures happen in our pets and what may help.
WHY DO SEIZURES HAPPEN
When it comes to neurological problems and disorders (such as epilepsy) there are significant holes in our knowledge of fundamental aspects. With recent advances in research, with an emphasis on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), it is showing promise that with the regulation of the ECS, it could provide neurological benefits. The ECS is important in providing balance to neurological function. Endocannabinoids (such as cannabidiol: CBD) help to regain that balance when it is thrown out of whack.
All humans have an ECS in their bodies to regulate a lot of the body’s functions and systems (including neurological). But, did you know that your pets have one, too? Dogs and cats have the same system in their bodies helping promote appetite, sleep, mood and behavior, pain, and more. When your pet’s ECS system becomes imbalanced, like a human’s can, that throws off many systems that it helps promote and is in charge of. Not every single system will shut down, of course, because every body (human and pet) is different and reacts differently.
Canine epilepsy is the most common cause of recurring seizures in dogs. The reasons behind this disease and the seizures aren’t always easily diagnosed. Epilepsy can be due to damage to the brain from an illness or injury, it can be in response to a trigger stimulant, or, usually, it might have no identifiable cause. Seizures may be passed down genetically, especially if the breed, specifically, is more predisposed to them.
Having multiple and/or recurring seizures can cause damage to your pet’s brain and can make them more prone to having more. Contact your vet if there is change in your pet’s seizures or if your pet has a seizure, there could be other underlying issues that may need to be addressed.
According to this study, done on the role of the endocannabinoid system on epilepsy, “epilepsy has been associated with ECS dysfunction and, in particular, neuroinflammation”. Though there are reasons for this dysfunction, as listed above, they all stem from the ECS being out of balance. CBD is an endocannabinoid that can help regain that balance in the ECS, including in your pet.
CBD FOR PET SEIZURES
CBD for pets come in a variety of products such as oils, soft and hard treats, and even topicals. CBD has other added benefits, as one can assume due to the huge role of the endocannabinoid system. CBD oil, though, is the main focus for seizure relieving-specific properties.
CBD oil is the main product used in the few scientific studies done on pets. Positive scientific research has been done on the anticonvulsant properties of CBD. While this study was particular to humans, we’ve already established that human and pet endocannabinoid systems work in the same way. This could mean that CBD’s antiseizure properties can work in your dogs and cats.
Of course, while research is lacking, there have been some studies done on how CBD’s properties may affect your pet. The findings in this study show 89% of dogs that received CBD had a significant reduction in the frequency of their seizures. Though this study is specific to canines, of course (as previously stated), a cat’s ECS may work in the same way with CBD.
FDA Approved CBD Med: Epidiolex
The FDA approved medical use of Epidiolex, which involves the active ingredient: cannabidiol (CBD). Epidiolex is used as an anticonvulsant to treat two rare, but severe forms of epilepsy in humans: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This was (and still is) a major breakthrough for the CBD community. It means the FDA is finally realizing the benefits of CBD and can commence with future studies of the chemical compound for medical use.
So, what does this mean for the pet community? Well, it could mean that we may eventually be able to use this drug or others like it to relieve our pets in the same manner. The Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 (AMDUCA) authorizes extralabel use of human drugs in veterinary medicine. Extralabel means use of the drug that isn’t consistent with what is described on the label, meaning that vets can use it on non-human subjects as long as they follow the principles in AMDUCA and any other regulations for handling the drug.
Using Epidiolex for seizures in dogs isn’t off the table just yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually on the table either. Due to AMDUCA and the authorization to use the drug on animals, the FDA has authority to restrict the use of the drug in animals. It hasn’t restricted Epidiolex, however, one major hurdle for using this drug in dogs and cats is the fact that we just don’t know if it will benefit them. At the time of this article being written (April 2022), research is ongoing. In the meantime, CBD oil may be the best option for relief for your four-legged family member.
Remember to always check with your vet before starting any new health regime on your pet, especially when it comes to neurological illnesses, such as seizures. When looking at CBD products for your pet, be sure to buy from a reputable source.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD IN PETS
As with any vitamin, supplement, or medicine, there may be side effects. When it comes to CBD, it’s no different, though the side effects may prove to be less extreme than the side effects of other seizure medications (Phenobarbital, Levetiracetam, Zonisamide, etc.). Side effects from these medications can include increased thirst and appetite, more frequent urination, sedation, instability, vomiting, behavioral changes, and more.
With CBD products, dry mouth, lethargy, upset stomach, and more may happen. The potential of these side effects increase when you improperly dose your pet.
SUGGESTED CBD OIL DOSING
CBD oil is so easy to give to your pet. It’s as simple as adding into their food, treats, and even water (as long as you ensure proper dosage and that they finish it). If you decide to go the water route, try a super small bowl, add the amount of water that they will drink in the one sitting, and then add your CBD oil to the bowl. Most CBD oil for pets is flavored to be desirable to your pets, such as beef or chicken flavored. You can even simply administer the oil directly into your pet’s mouth, if they are okay with their mouths being handled.
With dosing your pet, a lot of experimentation may happen until you find the proper dosage for your pet’s specific needs. A good rule of thumb, though, is that you may give your pet between 1-5mg of CBD oil for every 10lbs of body weight. Once you give your pet the recommended dose, remember that it can take up to 45 minutes for the effects to start working, once you’ve established you don’t notice any effects, you may increase the dosage. If you notice some of the negative side effects, you may have increased the dose too quickly or have reached over the maximum amount of dose required.
Always check the labels of your product for recommended dosage, as well. Every product is different and may have different strengths of CBD in them. Also, CBD treats and topicals dosing will be different. Topicals are usually easy, as there’s not necessarily a “too much” dose. Not a lot of CBD gets into the system through the animal’s skin, so it will mostly just help with things such as pain, skin issues, and inflammation. CBD treats will always have a dosage suggestion on them, but you can always refer back to the 1-5mg CBD per 10lbs of weight.
CBD has shown that it may help in the treatment and management of seizures in pets.
Every pet is different, but you should go by 1-5mg of CBD per every 10lbs of body weight.
Right now, no. It is not recommended to give your pet Epidiolex as it has not been tested for pet seizure management. Ask your vet for better options to treat your pet’s seizures.
OTHER CBD BENEFITS FOR PETS
Of course this article has been about gaining control of seizures in your pet, but what about the aforementioned added benefits CBD may have?
CBD oil benefits include;
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Depression relief
- Chronic pain relief
- Increase mobility
- Overall health and well-being
CBD topicals can have benefits such as point-of-pain relief and anti-inflammation, but with most topicals, other ingredients are added to increase the benefits. Topicals may include ingredients to promote a healthy coat, soothe itchy and flaky skin, and more! Always read the labels if you are looking for extra benefits and especially if you have a pet that has skin allergies.
READY FOR RELIEF?
CBD for pet seizures is definitely an ongoing discussion. If you and your vet are ready to try CBD oil for your pet’s seizures, contact us today or visit our CBD for Pets section on our website! If you’ve already tried CBD for your pet, let us know in the comments how it went and how it’s going.
Don’t forget to ask us about our other pet products, too!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, BRIE LOWREY
Brie Lowrey, resident Head of Customer Engagement here at The Green Dragon CBD, is a Kansas City Native now residing in St. Louis. She thrives on keeping up with social media trends, staying up-to-date on CBD news, and sending out office-wide dragon jokes. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, or read other posts by Brie.