Natural treatments for epilepsy and seizures in dogs
If your dog is suffering from epilepsy and seizures, you will probably be willing to do anything to help him. “Epilepsy is defined as recurring episodes of abnormal pulses of electrical energy in your dog’s brain,” says Dr. Rachel Barrack, a certified veterinary acupuncturist at Animal Acupuncture in Manhattan. “This is a very common neurological disorder in dogs.
No matter how common this disorder is, the effects can still be troubling. “Seizures can manifest themselves in many different ways,” continues Barak. “In many dogs, they can appear dazed and disoriented just before the attack. The attack can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can range in severity from muscle twitching or jerking to unconsciousness and collapse on one side and legs. Seizures can present as really strange behavior, such as attacking their tail or attacking an imaginary being seemingly out of nowhere.
If you think your pet may be having seizures, here are some natural remedies that may help you manage it.
Diagnosis of seizures in dogs
If you think your dog is having seizures, it is important to take him to the vet immediately for a full examination. “This will include a detailed medical history, a complete physical exam and blood work to help determine the underlying cause of the episodes and the best course of action,” says Barak. An MRI may also be needed to evaluate your pet’s brain and look for other causes of seizures, says Dr. Stephanie Leaf, MD, medical director of Pure Paws Veterinary Care in Manhattan.
Your pet may have seizures for a number of different reasons, including:
Idiopathic Epilepsy: The most common cause of seizures in dogs, these seizures occur without a specific underlying cause, usually due to a genetic disorder.
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A full examination by your vet will help determine the cause and the best way to proceed.
Treatment options for seizures in dogs
When it comes to treating seizures, there are medications your vet will likely recommend, as well as some comprehensive options you may be able to consider, depending on your pet’s particular circumstances. “After epilepsy has been diagnosed and, depending on the underlying cause, the vet may recommend medications to control the seizures and help prevent further seizures,” says Barak. “Western medicines used to treat seizure disorders include diazepam, phenobarbital and / or potassium bromide,” among others. Long-term administration of phenobarbital can be harmful to the liver, so dogs receiving it will need to have their liver values evaluated with routine blood tests.
Outside of Western medicine, however, some holistic approaches may also be useful. Barak, a certified Chinese veterinary herbalist, believes that both types of treatments and medications have their benefits.
“Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy and diet therapy, can be very effective in treating dogs with epilepsy and there are many different herbal formulations that can be used to treat the seizures, “he says. “These treatments can be used in conjunction with traditional Western medicines or, in some cases, in place of Western treatments.
Acupuncture is the process of inserting thin, sterile stainless steel needles into specific points on the body. “Most acupuncture points are located along 14 channels, which form a network that carries blood and energy throughout the body,” explains Barak. It produces a physiological response. It can relieve pain, stimulate the immune and nervous systems, increase microcirculation, reduce inflammation and help treat seizures, epilepsy and other neurological diseases. ”
Barak adds that because each patient reacts individually and each case is unique, there is no set number of sessions required to treat seizures. “Some patients notice significant improvements after just one session, but multiple sessions are often required. Severe and frequent episodes usually require multiple treatments to reduce [the problem] or eliminate it.
Chinese herbal formulas
Chinese herbal formulations can work alone or in synergy with acupuncture to improve the effectiveness of acupuncture sessions and prolong results. “Chinese herbal formulations