If your cat has ever had a seizure, you know how distressing this can be. Your cat may foam at the mouth, fall on its side and product uncontrolled movements of the limbs. Cat seizures may be treated, but epilepsy can never be cured. While anti-convulsant drugs will control seizures, most of them can bring horrible side effects. This is why many people have been turning to alternative treatments like CBD for cat seizures. Have you ever wondered if there’s a better way to treat your cat’s epilepsy? If so then this article is for you. Read on about using CBD for cat seizures and epilepsy.
What Is Epilepsy In Cats?
Epilepsy in cats is very like epilepsy in humans. It’s a disorder that causes the neurons in the brain to fire in an uncoordinated fashion. The uncoordinated firing of these neurons is what causes recurring seizures in cats. It’s not yet understood why the neurons behave in this fashion. Some believe that it may be the result of a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters.
Causes & Types Of Feline Seizures
Several things cause seizures in cats. They are not always caused by epilepsy. Seizures can also be caused by a range of other medical conditions including:
- Congenital defects
- Low oxygen levels in the blood
- Liver disorders
- Brain damage
- Kidney disorders
- Toxins, such as chocolate, lead or antifreeze
- Brain tumors
Seizures in cats are categorized by their severity:
A partial seizure only affects one side of the body or a small part of the body. Partial seizures are usually caused by lesions on the brain
Generalized seizures affect the entire body. There are two types of generalized seizures; grand mal seizures and petit seizures. Grand mal seizures are the most common type of seizures in cats. They will usually cause the cat to fall over on its side. Uncontrolled muscle movement will occur, including a paddling motion in the legs. Salivation will increase, and there may be frothing at the mouth. There may also be involuntary urination and defecation. The cat will be unaware of their surroundings and it will be unresponsive. Petit mal seizures do not cause convulsions. A Petit mal seizure will cause the cat to lose consciousness.
The worst type of seizure a cat can have is one that involves repeated grand mal seizures. In some cases, the cat will not have recovered from one seizure before the next one occurs. The cat may be stuck in a status epilepticus, staying in a state of seizure for several hours.
Single seizures are not life-threatening, but status epilepticus is. If a cat experiences a prolonged seizure, emergency medical attention is necessary.
What Are The Symptoms & Warning Signs Of A Cat Seizure?
Seizures occur in three phases. The first of these is the pre-seizure phase, which is the warning sign that a seizure is imminent:
During the pre-seizure phase, also known as the aura, the cat will appear to be restless. It may pace up and down, seek attention, and it may meow a lot. The cat will start salivating and it may hideaway. These pre-seizure warning signs will occur a few minutes before the seizure begins.
The Ictus is the seizure itself. During this phase, the cat may become excited and may start running around. The cat will salivate, and it may foam at the mouth. There will be signs of uncoordinated muscle movements and the cat may collapse on its side. The cat may lose control of its bladder and bowels. Temporary blindness is also common.
Following a seizure, a cat enters the recovery phase, or the post-ictal phase. During this phase, the cat may appear disorientated and its movements become uncoordinated. It is during this period that temporary blindness will become noticeable. The blindness can last from several minutes to a few days.
It is rare for a cat to become vicious during a seizure. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A cat will usually sense the seizure coming on and seek comfort. While the seizure is occurring, the cat will not be aware of what is going on around it. So, comforting the cat during a seizure will be of little use. It is more important to comfort and reassure the cat during the post-ictal stage of a seizure.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
There are many anticonvulsant drugs to manage epilepsy. Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment for epilepsy in cats. Anticonvulsant drugs can also control seizures caused by other medical conditions. The most common medications used to treat seizures are potassium bromide and phenobarbital. Other drugs used to treat seizures in cats include clonazepam, primidone, and clorazepate.
A vet may prescribe one or more of these drugs. After closely monitoring the cat’s condition, the drug combination or dosage can change as needed. The drugs are given by mouth and they are taken daily. The blood levels of the cat will be tested regularly. It is important that the drugs are given to the cat daily because skipping a dose could result in seizures. It is common for cats to appear lethargic when they first gave anti-convulsant drugs. This usually wears off after a few weeks.
Side Effects Of Phenobarbital For Cats
Phenobarbital is considered a safe drug to administer to cats, but side effects can occur. The most common side effects are as follows:
- Increased urination
- Low white blood cell count
- Swelling of the face
- Low platelet count
- Irritation of the skin
- Lack of coordination
Some cats have an allergic reaction to phenobarbital. Phenobarbital can cause blood clots in cats. This, in rare cases, has also led to liver damage. Phenobarbital may also react with other medications, including antihistamines and corticosteroids. Is important, therefore, that you tell your veterinarian if your cat is taking any other medications or supplements.
CBD As A Natural Anticonvulsant
CBD is a natural compound that comes from the hemp plant. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid has been found to have many therapeutic benefits. For quite some time now, CBD has been used to help manage pain, arthritis, anxiety, nausea, allergies, cancer side effects and tumors in cats. There has been a lot of research into the use of CBD as an anticonvulsant, the results of which have been very encouraging.
A recent American Epilepsy Society study looked at 216 people with treatment-resistant epilepsy. When given CBD, 60% of those people experienced fewer seizures.
A similar study by New York University found that 40% of patients with Dravet syndrome experienced a reduction in seizures when they took CBD. Dravet syndrome is a rare and debilitating type of epilepsy.
The advantage of using CBD for cat seizures is that it’s 100% natural and doesn’t cause any side effects. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system to regulate homeostasis. Homeostasis is the natural balancing of the body’s systems.
The anticonvulsant properties of CBD have been proven in many clinical studies. Many people with epilepsy have confirmed that CBD has helped manage their seizures.
It is always best to seek medical advice before you use any supplements to treat a serious disorder. However, the evidence suggests that CBD for cat seizures is an effective treatment for epilepsy and seizures in cats.
Using CBD For Cat Seizures
The first question most people usually have when using CBD with their cat is; will it make my cat high? The answer to that is no. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of the industrial hemp plant and contains no THC. THC is the element in marijuana that creates a “euphoric high”.
The easiest way to administer CBD for cat seizures is to place a few drops of CBD tincture under the cat’s tongue. Alternatively, you could add a few drops to the cat’s food. It is advisable to use small doses at first and then track the effect. Most people find that there is a positive effect at a dosage of 2-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight.
Many pet owners have found that Cannabidiol is an effective treatment for epilepsy and similar conditions. However, it is advisable to ask your veterinarian before you use any supplement if your cat is already on any other medication. Also, make sure to read our own full guide on Buying CBD Oil For Your Cat.