Treating epilepsy in dogs with CBD Oil

Seeing our furry friends sick or unwell pulls at the heartstrings. For those who have animals that suffer from epilepsy, the discomfort at seeing their beloved pet in the throes of seizures or convulsions can be regular and unbearable to witness. Can a medicinal cannabis treatment such as CBD oil ease this discomfort?

In recent years, following the prolific media surrounding the benefit of CBD oil for children and adults with epilepsy, there has been a surge in interest for how this cannabis-derived medicine may help our pets who suffer similar seizure disorders.

Safe and reliable advice can be hard to come by

Sourcing reliable and evidence-based information on the use of cannabis-derived products such as hemp nutritional supplements and CBD medicines for pets can be difficult to extract from online sources.

The internet is awash with articles and opinions on how cannabis medicines may benefit epilepsy in pets. Your pet deserves more than some vague assertion that online cannabis products are “safe and work”.

At CBD Vets Australia our mission is to provide legal access to safe, research-based veterinary advice, treatment and ongoing monitoring for pets who may benefit from a medicinal cannabis prescription.

CBD for epilepsy

CBD oil has been shown to be helpful in reducing seizures in cases of epilepsy or other disorders where seizures occur. A number of studies confirm CBD has anti-epileptic and anti-convulsant actions, which may reduce the frequency and in some instances the severity of seizures.

Additionally, animal studies and in vitro research show CBD exhibits neuroprotective effects which may aid in protecting against damage to the brain and nervous system during seizures.

Will CBD help my dog’s seizures?

Research on CBD is still in its infancy. There is one clinical trial that showed CBD reduced seizures in epileptic dogs.

This clinical trial was conducted blind – meaning the pet owners weren’t aware if their dog was receiving a placebo or CBD oil treatment – and a number of different breeds were included. Dogs were treated over a 12 week period in combination with their normal medications. At the end of the study period, the CBD group showed a 33% reduction in seizure frequency.

The extent of seizure reductions were correlated with blood levels of CBD, which led the authors to propose that future studies with different doses may result in greater reductions in seizures.

Is CBD safe for my pet?

While there are limited studies into the safety of CBD and other medical cannabis formulations for pets, thus far research has shown it to be tolerable and safe for dogs when administered in specific doses determined by body weight.

In terms of epilepsy, the average dose sits around 2.5mg per kilogram body weight per day, according to the clinical trial mentioned above. Investigations in dogs have shown CBD to be safe in doses as high as 10-20mg/kg/day.

In terms of potential adverse effects, this same study reported no signs of short term liver toxicity. A change in the liver enzyme, ALP, was observed. Although this isn’t cause for great alarm (and is observed in humans also) it does warrant further investigation into how CBD may affect the liver in the long term.

Can cats benefit from CBD?

Evidence relating to the veterinary use of medical cannabis for cats is minimal. Unlike dogs (or humans) with epileptic conditions, there have yet to be any trials into the administration of CBD oil for cats experiencing seizures.

Cats metabolise cannabinoid medicines differently to dogs, meaning we can’t translate the benefits of CBD for epilepsy in dogs to their feline friends. Future research will uncover if medical cannabis or CBD oil may alleviate illnesses in cats.

Potential side effects from CBD in dogs

The most common side effects from CBD observed in dogs are gastrointestinal changes, such as mild diarrhea and reddening around the ears. Side effects depend on the delivery route and are often mitigated by careful dosing regimes.

The wrap-up

Dogs with epilepsy may find relief or reduction in seizures from CBD prescriptions. If your dog is struggling with seizures, please reach out to our friendly team at CBD Vets Australia on (02) 8294 9303 to see if CBD medication is suitable for your pet.

By Jessica Kindynis

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