“Ictus,” isn’t the name of a character in an adventure novel. It’s the scientific name for a seizure, defined as a disruption of normal brain functioning resulting in uncontrolled muscle activity in the sufferer. For dogs with seizures, “ictus,” can result in pronounced symptoms like foaming at the mouth, kicking, and/or biting. If you’re a pet owner struggling to help your pup fight off seizures, read on to find out why they happen and how to stop them from happening asap!
What causes seizures in dogs?
Although the cause of seizures is largely unknown and varies from dog to dog, there are three types of epilepsy that can affect your furry friend; reactive, secondary and primary. Reactive and secondary epilepsy have known causes, while primary (idiopathic) epilepsy have no clear or known cause. Seizures can occur at any time but are especially common during times of excitement (dinnertime!) or during sudden changes in brain activity (playtime!). They can also take place upon the dog sleeping and waking.
Potential causes of seizures in dogs include:
- Genetic conditions
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Brain tumors
- Head injury
- Ingesting a poisonous substance
- High/low blood pressure
Seizures happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Not only that, certain breeds are more susceptible to idiopathic epilepsy, or chronic seizures.
If you’re an owner of any of theses breeds the likelihood of epilepsy may be higher:
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Golden retrievers
- Labrador retrievers
- Bernese Mountain dogs
- English Springer spaniels
What should I do if my dog has seizures?
The earlier that you can determine the cause of your dog’s seizures and start treating them the better. Dogs that have seizures before the age of two respond especially well to treatment and with proper monitoring and consistency you may be able to prevent the incidence of another seizure for the rest of their life.
At the first sign of a seizure, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the cause. Your dog will likely need to undergo a full physical examination and blood work. If no obvious cause is found, additional exams or testing may be required. You can then work with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan to prevent future seizures!
What is the treatment plan for dogs with seizures?
Common veterinarian prescribed treatments include phenobarbital and potassium bromide. If your dog is taking either one of those, it’s important that you monitor his blood as they can damage his liver. You should also be careful not to miss doses, as suddenly withdrawing from the medication can cause an episode. Studies have shown that dogs frequently respond best to a multifaceted treatment plan with both veterinarian prescribed medications and homeopathic treatment.
CBD oil tinctures for pets have been shown to have remarkable results in preventing and reducing seizures in dogs. CBD oil contains the phytocannabinoid “cannabidiol,” a non-psychoactive substance that acts upon receptors in the brain to stop seizures in their tracks. The jury is still out on what exactly makes CBD effective for seizures, but there are plenty of studies on the effect of CBD on epilepsy disorders to show that it is being strongly considered by doctors and veterinarians as a therapeutic treatment.
If you’re going to add CBD oil to your dog’s course of treatment here are a few things to consider:
Do not attempt to make CBD oil on your own. Medical professionals have cautioned that the CBD extraction process is complicated and that dosing for even non psychoactive CBD oil should still be properly determined in a lab.
CBD oil for dogs may be recommended by veterinarians who are unable to prescribe it. While CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, federal laws can make it hard to obtain in a clinical setting. Thankfully, you can buy CBD oil for your pet safely and securely online.
Check your labels to ensure you’re only buying 100% pure, organic CBD oil with no additional chemicals or additives. Unfortunately, because of a lack of regulation by the FDA, there are some companies that sell fake CBD oil.
What do I do after my dog’s seizure is over?
If your dog does have a seizure there are several things that you can do to ease the accompanying confusion (despite that way that they look, seizures are not painful for the dog). As your dog is seizing, do not make any attempt to reach inside their mouth. There is a common misconception that dogs can swallow their tongues during a seizure. This is a myth but your dog could accidently bite you!
You should try and remove any objects that might injure your dog while he or she is seizuring. Otherwise, make sure that you talk to them in a calm voice and do your best to reduce any confusion or panic after the seizure is over. You can administer additional CBD oil to your dog as it has been shown to reduce sudden onset stress and anxiety.
If you notice that your dog is seizing multiple times in a day or that the seizure is lasting more than a minute or so, call your veterinarian immediately. Prolonged seizures can cause serious, permanent damage or even death. Lengthy seizures can also cause your dog’s body temperature to rise. You may want to keep a fan handy or a wet towel or washcloth to put on them.
Seizures can be scary for pet owners but with the right course of treatment and careful monitoring, your dog could be seizure free for the duration of its life. Consider the possibilities of combined treatment and read our blog for additional uses for CBD oil for dogs.