Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dog Seizures--Natural Treatments and Holistic Alternatives

Watching a beloved dog have a seizure is devastating. The first time it happens, you may not know what is happening. Many times, pet owners don't realize it is happening until it is underway or finished and their dog appears glassy-eyed and doesn't recognize them. The first time my dog Legend had a seizure, I heard barking. I went out to look and he was on his back and it appeared as though he was just rolling around playfully. When I got closer, he sat up and frothing at the mouth, he glared at me in a scary aggressive way, not recognizing me at all. It was very frightening to see my own dog behaving like this. The next time was worse, because my veterinarian had explained that it was a seizure. Legend lay on the ground, paddling and losing control of his bodily functions. Even after he came back into "consciousness", it took him about an hour to recover. I decided I would do everything in my power to help my dear dog.

Dog seizures can be caused by a variety of reasons which is why it is so important to try to address each and every issue to minimize the likelihood of an occurrence  Hypothyroidism and liver toxicity can be contributing factors. It's critical to have your dog's blood and urine checked extensively even in a very young dog. While hypothyroidism is less common in a young dog, it does happen. AND......many times the dog's bloodwork is in the "normal" range but is below the midpoint which can be an indicator of thyroid weakness. In other words, just because the thyroid values fall in the normal range, doesn't mean your dog might not have clinical hypothyroidism. Typical signs of hypothyroidism in dogs are slow metabolism, weight gain, thinning or dull coat, constipation, chronic skin infections and neuromuscular disorders such as seizures. We had Legend's thyroid checked multiple times and while it always fell in the normal range, it was on the low-end and he had many symptoms of hypothyroidism. I started him on BioThyro and within a few days, he started to lose weight and his coat quality improved.His metabolism is very sluggish and he eats considerably less than what might be recommended for a 3 year old Siberian Husky.

Dogs that get seizures can also have advanced liver toxicity or have been exposed to something very toxic. It is important to work with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog as medication may be needed for your dog's liver. In addition, several liver support formulas are highly recommended such as Liver and Gallbladder Supplement for Pets, Special SAMe and Oxicell. Even if your dog is not diagnosed with liver disease, it is the central "clearing house" for toxins so using the Liver and Gallbladder Supplement for Pets will help.

Allergies can also be a trigger. Food allergies such as poultry, grains, peanut butter, corn can all trigger a seizure. Dogs with seizures should be on a hypoallergenic, grain free diet. If possible, feeding them a raw frozen diet mixed with plenty of Amazing Omegas can make a significant difference. Finally, it is important to nourish the brain. I give Legend a combination of three formulas to increase blood flow to his brain and help support his brain. Brain Vitale
B Complex #12 and Neuroflam. Here is a link to these products that are recommended for canine seizures and neurological conditions I am happy to report that as of today, it has now been 9 months since Legend's last seizure. As I implemented each of the suggestions above, the time between seizures became extended. At first, it was every 12 -14 days and then got up to about 40 days. Now, we have had a wonderful reprieve of 9 months and going on strong. It takes trial and error to determine what the cause of the seizures are in your particular pet and it is important to remember, that it is may not be one simple cause; it can be a combination of contributing factor. Medications such as phenobarbital may be necessary if the seizures are very frequent but the medication is CONTROLLING the seizures, not addressing the underlying health considerations causing the seizures in the first place. The goal of holistic veterinary medicine is to address the underlying cause of the seizures and to help the pet as a whole.