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 Seizures In Dogs
Epilepsy is one of the most common long-term neurological disorders in dogs. Estimates say up to 5% of the dog population.
There are many different causes of seizures. Some of the most well-known include:
- Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides
- Human drugs like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), antihistamines, antidepressants and diabetic medications
- Veterinary drugs, neurotoxic topical chemicals like flea and tick preventives
- Poisoning: lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, and plant poisoning
- Heat stroke
- 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.
- 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 dog’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.
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.
An injury or illness may also result in seizures in your dog:
- Head trauma which results in brain swelling
- Brain tumors
- Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections
- Certain immune-mediated diseases
- Congenital malformation (birth defects) of the brain stem or spinal cord
- Low blood sugar
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. The long-term use of these drugs will contribute to the toxic buildup that can cause further seizures.
These are some of the most common drugs prescribed for dog seizures and their side effects:
- Primidone – side effects include weight loss, lethargy, loss of coordination, liver damage.
- Zonisamide – side effects include loss of coordination, depressed appetite, diarrhea, vomiting. When used long-term can cause hyperthermia, skin reactions and blood disorders.
- Potassium bromide – side effects include irritability, vomiting, loss of coordination and weakness, bromide toxicity.
- Phenobarbital – side effects include fatigue, lethargy, nervousness, a lack of coordination. When used long-term can cause anemia and liver damage, including scarring of the liver and eventual liver failure.
Natural Remedies For Seizures In Dogs
Instead of reaching for something that can lead to more seizures in the future, try one of these natural solutions instead.
CBD Oil For Seizures In Dogs
CBD oil (cannabidiol) comes from the hemp plant. High-quality CBD oils contain little to no THC – that’s the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. So CBD oil gives your dog health benefits without side effects.
And one of the fastest growing uses of CBD oil is for seizures.
The research that has been done speaks volumes about the benefits of CBD for epilepsy. One study of treatment-resistant epileptics showed significant improvement with CBD in 7/8 participants. Another study found an up to 80% reduction in seizure activity in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Studies are being done around the world to determine just how far-reaching these health benefits are.
It’s important to choose the best CBD oil for your dog. To be most effective, you want a high-quality CBD oil that works. Look for a product that:
- Is organic (to avoid pesticides, fungicides or solvents)
- Is free of additives
- Comes with a certificate of analysis
- Has little or no THC in it
[Related] CBD oil isn’t just for seizures. Find out some other ways it can benefit your dog here.
Homeopathic Remedies For Seizures
Homeopathic treatment can be can be very effective for managing seizures in dogs.
A study done in 2007 tested a single remedy, Belladonna 200C, in ten dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. This means there’s no known cause. During the seizure phase, 3 to 4 drops of Belladonna were given at 15 minute intervals. Once the researchers saw a reduction in seizure activity, it was given four times daily.
Dogs with head shaking syndrome as well as seizures were also given Cocculus 6C. They got 3 to 4 drops 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. After that, they only happened occasionally.
With the dogs that kept getting Belladonna, there were no fits during the two to seven months of follow-up. In two cases, epileptic fits reappeared within 15 to 25 days after stopping the remedy. When the Belladonna was resumed, the seizures were again controlled.
This success was seen with just one or two remedies. There are also other remedies that can help reduce seizure activity in your dog.
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.
- Bufo rana
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.
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.
Epilepsy and seizures in dogs 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.