If you’ve ever witnessed a seizure in your dog, you know how terrifying it can be.
There can be a variety of causes for your dog’s seizure … and a variety of treatments that carry varying degrees of success.
Identifying The Cause Of Your Dog’s Seizure
There are many different causes of seizures. Below is a comprehensive list and recommendations for prevention from Dr Karen Becker:
- Head trauma which results in brain swelling can cause seizures.
- Brain tumors are a very common source of seizures in older pets. It’s very unlikely your 12-year-old dog or cat will develop epilepsy. If you have a pet getting up in years who starts seizing, unfortunately, the likely cause is a brain tumor.
- Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections can also cause seizures.
- Certain immune-mediated diseases can cause seizures.
- Cervical subluxations and other chiropractic issues in the neck can increase the likelihood of seizures.
- Congenital malformation (birth defects) of the brain stem or spinal cord is also a common cause of seizures. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed well-known to have a birth defect in the occipital bone leading to cerebellar herniation, a condition known as Syringomyelia.
- Liver disease can indirectly cause seizures. The liver is designed to process toxins, and if it can’t do its job effectively, poisons can build up in your pet’s bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier. Your pet can develop a condition called hepatic encephalopathy which can lead to toxin-based seizure activity.
- Low blood sugar can also be a cause. Diabetic animals taking insulin can develop low blood sugar-based seizures, or animals with insulinomas (a pancreatic tumor)
- Other metabolic conditions such as hypothyroidism can also cause seizures. Interestingly, in one study 70 percent of dogs that were clinically hypothyroid had a history of seizures.
- Poisoning can lead to seizures. Lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, and plant poisoning (the marijuana plant, sago palm and castor bean plant, for example) can all induce seizures in your pet.
- Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides are all well-known to cause seizures.
- Human drugs like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), antihistamines, antidepressants and diabetic medications can all cause seizures in pets.
- Veterinary drugs are also known to create seizure potential. In fact, neurotoxic topical chemicals like flea and tick preventives are included in the list of drugs that potentially cause seizures.
- Heat stroke is also a too-frequent cause of seizures in pets.
- Veterinary vaccines still contain thimerosal or organo-mercury compounds as adjuvants to boost the body’s response to the immunization. Needless to say, heavy metals cross the blood-brain barrier, and since your pet’s central nervous system doesn’t contain the equivalent of a liver, there’s no removing those heavy metals.
- Diet has a two-fold potential implication when it comes to seizures. Number one is if your pet has food allergies. This can cause a systemic inflammatory response that can decrease her seizure threshold. Number two, the pet food you feed can contain synthetic chemicals, preservatives, emulsifiers or other ingredients that can cause systemic inflammation and decrease seizure threshold.
While there are many causes of seizures in dogs, it’s clear from the above list that a more natural lifestyle with fresh whole foods, a very minimal vaccine schedule and limited exposure to toxins and drugs is the best way to prevent seizures.
But what if your dog is already suffering seizures?
Fortunately, there are natural remedies that are not only safe, but more effective than conventional medications!
Conventional Treatment of Seizures
Conventional vets will often treat seizures and epilepsy with anticonvulsant drugs such as phenobarbitone or Mysoline. The long term use of these drugs will contribute to the toxic buildup that can cause further seizures.
Natural Treatment Options For Your Dog’s Seizures
Homeopathic treatment can be can be ver effective for reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in dogs.
A study done in 2007 tested a single remedy, Belladonna 200C, in ten dogs with idiopathic (no known cause) epilepsy. During the seizure phase, 3 to 4 drops of Belladonna were given at 15 minute intervals, until the researchers saw a considerable reduction in seizure activity; then it was given four times daily.
Dogs with head shaking syndrome as well as seizures were also given 3 to 4 drops of Cocculus 6C weekly for an additional three months.
In this study, the numbers of fits reduced to just two or three during the first two weeks of the study, and then became occasional in next two weeks.
With the continuation of Belladonna, no fits were observed during the two to seven months of follow-up. In two cases, epileptic fits reappeared within 15 to 25 days after stopping the homeopathic treatment. When the Belladonna was resumed, the seizures were again controlled.
This success was seen with just one or two remedies. There are also other homeopathic remedies that can help reduce seizure activity in your dog.
8 Natural Remedies To Seizures:
Useful for both attendant and patient! The sudden onset fits the picture, and fear is sometimes seen just prior to the fit.
Another remedy where suddenness is a feature, together with the violence of the convulsions. There is great sensitivity during the fit, and the slightest external stimulus will keep it going. The attack usually involves a single fit rather than a cluster. As it is the acute of Calc carb, it is often of use where that is the indicated constitutional remedy.
This has the reputation of the keynote of fits occurring during sleep. In actual fact, the link is to night and sleep combined. The other feature is worse in a warm room. There is often a howl at the start of the fit.
- Cicuta virosa
A distinctive feature here is that during the spasms, the head is thrown back and to the side, so that the muzzle rests on the shoulder blade facing towards the tail.
A very useful remedy, its connection with vertigo gives it its place in this context.
Related to Belladonna and Stramonium, this is also an excellent “local” remedy. Its picture is characterized by excessive movements of the face, both prior to a fit and at other times.
- Kali brom
As Potassium bromide this is used as a conventional anti-convulsant and it is also employed as a homeopathic remedy. The timing of the fits is often linked to estrus, and there is marked excitement before they start.
- Silica, having both convulsions and “ailments from vaccination” in its picture, is extremely useful when seizures are vaccine induced.
NOTE: Don’t try giving these remedies to your dog – discuss these remedy choices with your homeopathic vet before treating your dog. If you don’t have a homeopathic vet, you can find a great homeopathic vet here who is close to you or is willing to guide you with phone consults.
Seizures and epilepsy are typically the result of chronic, long standing disease and this makes the choice of remedy difficult. Consult with your homeopathic vet to find the proper constitutional remedy for your dog, one that matches your dog’s unique personality, emotions and physical symptoms.
Unlike conventional medicines, homeopathy won’t contribute to your dog’s toxin buildup, and this gives him the very best chance of saying goodbye to seizures forever.