We all do our best to ensure that our pets are as healthy as possible, but we all recognize that some health-related factors are simply beyond our control. One specific type of ailment that can make us feel uniquely powerless is seizures, which can affect cats and dogs of all ages, breeds and levels of general health.
Seizures can happen to any species, but they are far more common in dogs than in cats. Still, that does not mean that you should not take care to manage your pet’s health to do everything that you can to both prevent and treat seizures.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is dominant chemical compound found in the hemp plant. Having been studied intensively for decades, researchers have determined that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system in all species of mammals to regulate specific processes pertaining to our overall functionality. Many pet owners give CBD to their furry friends for common ailments like nervousness, lack of appetite and joint pain, but does it have any effect on seizures? Let’s find out.
What Causes Seizures in Pets
One of the most difficult aspects of seizures in pets is trying to figure out the root cause so that addressing it with proper treatments can be done. It can be hard to determine the cause of seizures, but with a good veterinarian, you can rule many causes out.
Epilepsy is the most common cause for seizures, and is a condition that causes seizures due to abnormal electric activity in the neurological system. Epilepsy is largely genetic, meaning that it’s passed down from one generation to another. This means that owners can only do so much to prevent it, or predict that their pet will develop the condition. Epilepsy can present itself at any age, but typically begins to show itself after their 1st year. Often, seizures become more severe and frequent as time goes on.
Severe dehydration can cause seizures to occur, due to a lack of electrolyte balance in the body that can severely deplete the neurological function within the brain. Other signs of dehydration in pets include white gums and panting. If your pet is dehydrated, you must make sure to supply them with water immediately and take them out of the heat if the temperature outdoors is causing them to become dehydrated.
Kidney disease can lead to seizures in about 10% of cats and dogs, due to an inability for the kidneys to process toxins out of the body. The accumulation of these toxins can lead to seizures that occur rarely or frequently, and often signals that kidney disease is turning into kidney failure. Other signs of kidney disease include a lack of urination, a disinterest in food and dehydration.
Sadly, brain tumors in your pet can result in seizures due to structural changes in the brain interfering with healthy neurological function. A pet with a brain tumor may also struggle with balancing themselves and overall coordination. The cause for brain tumors is relatively unknown, and they can progress slowly or quickly. They may be genetic and may or may not be cancerous.
A seizure can result from brain trauma, so if your pet has injured their head, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Other signs that your pet has experienced brain trauma include lack of coordination, vomiting, difficulty balancing, excessive sleep, and overall confusion.
Consumption of Toxins
Seizures can indicate that your pet has consumed some type of toxic substance, and this requires immediate medical attention. Many household products we use are toxic to our pets, ranging from popular essential oils to household cleaners. It’s important as a pet owner to keep these toxic substances away from your pet.
Another cause for seizures is severe stress, although the exact mechanisms involved are not fully understood yet. We know that pets who have been exposed to trauma of any kind are more likely to develop seizures later on, possibly because of how trauma can rearrange the function of the brain, thus interfering with neurological dysfunction due to over firing of electricity in the brain as a result of a dysregulated nervous system.
Ways to Treat Seizures in Pets
If you witness your pet having a seizure, do not try to disturb them until the seizure has passed, as you could unintentionally hurt them. Once the seizure has passed, take your pet immediately to their veterinarian or an emergency clinic to make sure that they have not injured themselves in any way as a result of convulsions, and to ensure that you can properly address the underlying cause to try to prevent another seizure from occurring.
Treating seizures in pets begins with diagnosing the issue. If epilepsy is to blame, your vet may prescribe medications that can regulate neurological function. If there is another cause such as kidney disease or brain trauma, your vet will work to treat the cause which will in turn address the seizures that are occurring as a symptom.
Using CBD for Pet Seizures: Can It Help?
Study #1: Pets respond well to CBD overall, which makes sense as they too have endocannabinoid systems in their body that utilize cannabinoids like CBD to regulate processes pertaining to each bodily system.
Study #2: Cannabinoid receptors in the neurological and nervous systems have been found to impact the frequency and severity of seizures.
That being said, if you’re going to give your pet CBD for seizures:
You absolutely must discuss this with your veterinarian, who can determine whether or not it’s safe based on your pet’s present needs.
Do not use hemp as a substitute for treatments recommended by your vet. In many cases, CBD can be used in a complementary way along with treatment options commonly prescribed for seizures.
Only use CBD made for pets. CBD products for humans may contain harmful ingredients to pets, such as essential oils and other botanicals, which could potentially cause seizures due to their toxicity levels to cats and dogs.
Only CBD pet products contain concentrations and dosage guidelines based on the needs of cats and dogs rather than humans.
Chill Paws’ Line of Quality CBD Pet Products
Chill Paws offers a variety of CBD-based products made specifically for cats and dogs. Our formulas are nontoxic and contain only plant-based ingredients, while boasting flavors and smells that appeal to your pets’ senses. These products can be taken daily, under the guidance of a veterinarian, and come in various delivery methods to supply your pet with cannabinoids in a way that’s suitable to them, whether it be in the form of a treat or as a tincture applied under their tongue.