Dog seizures are very distressing. Traditional treatments for seizures can have serious side effects and don’t work in roughly 30% of cases.1 Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural and safe anticonvulsant that has proven effective in early research and may help alleviate seizures in our canine companions.
CBD for Dog Seizures
The American Kennel Club is currently sponsoring a major research study regarding use of CBD in dogs for treatment-resistant epilepsy. That said, most animal studies on CBD and seizures are performed on rats, where CBD has been shown to combat seizures, reduce seizure severity, and enhance other seizure medications.2-5
Patient reports and early human trials support the use of CBD for treatment-resistant epilepsy.6-8 In a recent double-blind study by the New England Journal of Medicine, 10-20 milligram doses of CBD were administered to children with treatment-resistant epilepsy, and significant reductions in seizures were recorded compared to placebo.9 The Food and Drug Administration approved CBD as a treatment for this form of epilepsy in 2018.
It is unclear how CBD acts to produce anticonvulsant effects. However, CBD is safe for dogs, and the canine endocannabinoid system is similar to ours.
Why is My Dog Having Seizures?
The most common cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, or primary epilepsy. This genetic condition causes generalized seizures (unconscious with whole body convulsions). Secondary epilepsy is caused by structural issues in the brain and manifests partial seizures (conscious with erratic seizure symptoms). Our dogs can also have seizures in reaction to many factors in their bodies and environments. It is vital to consult a licensed veterinarian if your dog experiences seizures.
When our best friend suffers, we suffer. Seizure treatment can be challenging, but CBD may help. Discuss CBD with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.
1. Chandler, Kate. "Canine Epilepsy: What Can We Learn from Human Seizure Disorders?" The Veterinary Journal 172, no. 2 (2006): 207-17. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2005.07.001.
Jones, Nicholas A., et al. "Cannabidiol Exerts Anti-convulsant Effects in Animal Models of Temporal Lobe and Partial Seizures." Seizure 21, no. 5 (2012): 344-52. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2012.03.001.
Gobira, Pedro H., et al. "Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent, Inhibits Cocaine-induced Seizures in Mice: Possible Role of the MTOR Pathway and Reduction in Glutamate Release." NeuroToxicology 50 (2015): 116-21. doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2015.08.007.
Consroe, P. and A. Wolkin. “Cannabidiol: Antiepileptic Drug Comparisons and Interactions in Experimentally Induced Seizures in Rats.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 201 no. 1 (April 1977): 26-32.
Consroe, Paul et al. "Effects of Cannabidiol on Behavioral Seizures Caused by Convulsant Drugs or Current in Mice." European Journal of Pharmacology 83, no. 3-4 (1982): 293-98. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(82)90264-3.
Reddy, D.S. "The Utility of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Refractory Epilepsy." Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 101, no. 2 (2016): 182-84. doi:10.1002/cpt.441.
Tzadok, Michal et al."CBD-enriched Medical Cannabis for Intractable Pediatric Epilepsy." Seizure 35 (2016): 41-44. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2016.01.004.
Porter, Brenda E., and Catherine Jacobson. "Report of a Parent Survey of Cannabidiol-enriched Cannabis Use in Pediatric Treatment-resistant Epilepsy." Epilepsy & Behavior 29, no. 3 (2013): 574-77. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.08.037.
Devinsky, Orrin et al."Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome." New England Journal of Medicine 377, no. 7 (2017): 699-700. doi:10.1056/nejmc1708349.