Can CBD oil help dogs with seizures?

This is unexpected in dogs, but they can have seizures… and maybe CBD oil can help

Dogs are man's best friends and simply adorable. But about 2-5% of dogs suffer from epilepsy, which is not what you would expect. Before the seizure, many pets (as well as humans) experience the aura stage. The pet appears anxious, frightened, or dazed, as if it could sense an impending seizure. It is frightening and frightening, both for the dog and the pet owner. Only research knows whether CBD oil can help dogs with seizures.

The most common breeds with a higher rate of epilepsy include Beagles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies, Boxer Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Irish Wolfhounds, Keeshonds, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies, English Springer Spaniels, Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Wire-haired Fox Terriers. While epilepsy and seizures occur in dogs, they are very rare in cats.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of the cannabis plant (marijuana). Unlike the plant's main active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause a “high” feeling. Instead, it is associated with pain relief and is the main ingredient in many pet cannabis products. Although there is plenty of evidence of marijuana helping people with epilepsy or cancer, more and more people are drawn to the plant for pain relief – for themselves and their dogs, especially those with canine arthritis.

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Canine epilepsy is the most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs. Unfortunately, the medications used to treat epilepsy, such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, diazepam, and other anticonvulsants, can cause serious side effects in some dogs. Even with medication, up to 30 percent of dogs with epilepsy continue to have seizures.

Photo by Mark Zamora via Unsplash

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) has expressed interest in assisting with a large clinical trial examining CBD as a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. More research needs to be done to not only show results but also provide guidelines for dosing. Veterinarians are hesitant to recommend CBD for dogs because there is no clear, helpful way.

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Another study is being carried out with veterinary neurologist Dr. Stephanie McGrath performed. In 2016, she launched her first cannabidiol pilot study, examining CBD in 16 dogs with epilepsy. The results showed that 89 percent of dogs that received CBD as part of the clinical trial had a reduction in seizure frequency. In a follow-up study, McGrath started a larger, double-blind study. The study is supplemented by the search for data on dosage.

“We don’t have the answers yet, but so far it’s promising and we’re seeing encouraging results,” McGrath said. “But not all dogs get better, I can tell you that much.”

We hope they will have an answer by the end of 2024.

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