Seizures (aka: convulsions) are caused by processes that cause inflammation in the brain and alter the normal functioning of the brain. Epilepsy and seizure disorders are quite common in dogs. In fact, approximately one percent of dogs are affected by this problem. Although vets are able to treat seizures in dogs, the process can be somewhat complex because it can be hard to determine why a dog is having seizures. In this article, we discuss seizures in dogs and recommend holistic and natural methods of treatment. Read on to learn more.
What Are Some Of The Causes Of Seizures In Dogs?
If you have taken your dog to a traditional vet for diagnosis of seizures, you are likely to have come away with a diagnosis of “idiopathic epilepsy”. This means that the vet has not been able to determine the cause of your dog’s seizures; however, it doesn’t mean the vet didn’t try. To arrive at this diagnosis, vets perform a thorough examination and series of tests to rule out multiple causes, including:
In the process of determining whether or not your dog has epilepsy, the vet will perform a battery of tests, including x-rays and a comprehensive blood panel (CBP).
If your vet comes to the conclusion that your dog has epilepsy, he or she is likely to prescribe drugs, such as potassium bromide or Phenobarbital to control the seizures. Unfortunately, these prescription drugs can have troubling side effects, such as excessive sedation and toxicity.
Are Prescription Drugs Necessary?
A traditional veterinarian typically uses prescription drugs as the go-to for treating seizures in dogs, but there are other methods that have shown themselves to be effective. Holistic veterinarians specialize in investigating their patients’ symptoms on a deeper level and formulating an integrative, natural treatment plan that address “the whole dog”.
9 Holistic and Natural Integrative Treatment Options
1. A natural, nutritious diet that is high in protein and fats and low in starch (i.e. ketogenic) can be very helpful in combating seizure disorders in dogs. Very often, seizures are caused or exacerbated by chemicals and unnatural ingredients in commercial dog food. Switching to a higher quality, hypoallergenic dog food can help greatly. Another option is to prepare your dog’s food at home using natural, organic ingredients.
2. Chiropractic adjustments can have a very positive effect on epilepsy in dogs who have suffered physical trauma, head injury or chronic ear infections. Seek out a veterinarian who is certified as a veterinary chiropractor for these treatments.
3. Acupuncture is a staple of Chinese medicine, and many people in the Western world are familiar with this effective method for controlling pain and realigning the body’s energy. In acupuncture, fine needles are inserted at specific points on the body. Although, it would seem that this would be painful, most humans who receive treatments say that they find them relaxing.
Acupuncture sessions are usually twenty or thirty minutes long, once weekly for a month or so. Ongoing sessions every couple of months are recommended after the initial period is complete.
4. Many holistic vets augment acupuncture treatment with herbal therapy and the insertion of gold beads into the skin at acupuncture points for ongoing therapy. Herbs that are typically used include:
5. Rescue Remedy is a Bach flower essence that can be administered when early signs of an imminent seizure are detected. It can also be used in an ongoing manner for stress reduction and to ward off seizures.
6. Nutraceuticals are vitamin and mineral supplements that have been shown to help with seizure disorders. Some of the most effective are:
7. Supplements, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids can be very helpful in reducing seizure activity. These important nutrients can be delivered as oils poured over the food, in capsules or by giving your dog foods that are naturally high in them. Wild caught salmon is an excellent example of a food that is high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
8. Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychotropic substance that is quite effective in controlling seizures and improving health and well-being overall. The product is typically available as an oil that can be administered with a dropper a couple of times daily. Precise dosage varies based on your dog’s weight, severity of the seizures and other factors; however, you needn’t worry that you’ll give your dog too much. Overdose is impossible, and CBD is beneficial in reducing inflammation, improving appetite, calming anxiety, improving skin and fur and conveys a wide variety of other benefits.
9. Some holistic vets also use homeopathic remedies, which are administered in very small amounts on the premise that “like cures like”. The idea is that by administering these remedies, the immune system will be stimulated to mount a defense against the ailment in question. Some of the most commonly used homeopathic remedies for seizures in dogs include Thuja, Aconitum and Belladonna. Use of these substances should be supervised by a trained homeopath.
6 Things You Can Do To Prevent Seizures In Dogs
- 1Keep vaccinations to a minimum because dogs who have epilepsy may have severe reactions.
- 2Keep your home and your dog’s quarters chemical free. Use natural cleaning supplies and flea and tick products.
- 3Give your dog filtered water, and be careful not to allow him to drink from puddles, swimming pools and other sources of water which may be full of chemicals and/or polluted.
- 4Reduce stress in your home. Cultivate a quiet, relaxing environment. You and your dog will be happier.
- 5Avoid leaving your dog at a boarding kennel when you are away. Hire a house sitter instead.
- 6Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Active dogs are healthier overall, and exercise releases the feel-good hormone, serotonin, which contributes to a state of calm and well-being.
Take a Whole Body Approach
Work with your veterinarian to determine which remedies and treatments will work best for your dog. Natural remedies may be freely combined for excellent results. With your vet’s approval, natural and holistic remedies for seizures in dogs can be combined with medication to enhance results. Often, use of natural remedies will lead to a reduction of the amount of prescription medication needed to control seizures.