Can I use CBD oil for seizures in dogs?
Original Question: My dog's seizures are no longer controlled with Zonisamide and Phenobarb. Our vet keeps increasing his dosage. He's only four years old and I hate seeing him on so many drugs. Have you heard anything about CBD? Are there any articles I can read from actual vets? - Brittany
Thanks for the question and I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing this with your dog.
I agree that using multiple drugs at increasing dosages in such a young dog is undesirable. With continued use, many anti-epileptic drugs may create some negative side effects and the patient can build up a tolerance to them necessitating a perpetual increase in their dosage. Some have damaging effects on the liver and their neurological system with time.
In your case, with the use of combination drugs and the fact that the patient is young, my recommendation for you is to get a referral to a neurologist now. Their experience and knowledge of treating epilepsy will be far superior than a general veterinarian like myself and getting their opinion would be valuable now. In addition, it would be irresponsible of me to guide you in any way given the limited information I have. In the meantime, read our article about epilepsy and seizures in pets for general advice and information.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a drug produced from Cannabis Sativa L which is being studied in the control of seizures in both people and dogs. It is non-psychoactive so it does not produce the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. There are only a few studies I could find on it myself because it is in the early research stages. It has a positive effect of being both an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic that can make it more successful at controlling seizure activity. It is rapidly released in the body so it works quickly and it also has a long-acting duration of about 9 hours. In one study I read, when it is combined with other antiepileptic drugs, in some cases it increased their effectiveness whereas with some drugs it decreased them. In a study done on dogs, it wasn’t well absorbed when given orally. Other studies have shown that it has significantly fewer side effects than common antiepileptics and does not create a tolerance that would otherwise necessitate an ongoing increase in the dose over the patient’s lifetime.
I’m not aware of its current usage in veterinary medicine but I’m certain that a veterinary neurologist would have more knowledge about this.
I hope this helps and good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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