CBD For Cat Seizures, Will It Help Your Furry Friend?
The popularity of CBD rose exponentially over the past few years. Its many potential health benefits, backed by growing research and anecdotal evidence, only further fuel the demand. Behind all the noise, there seems to be genuine potential for this particular compound to become a treatment against some conditions. While most people themselves wonder how CBD can help them, some pet-owners were also curious if it could help their animal pals as well. Turns out, it might just do that since the mechanisms on which CBD works its present in both dogs and cats as well. CBD does help treat the symptoms of some rare forms of epilepsy, by the way. After all, the FDA already approved of a CBD-derived drug designed to treat certain types of epileptic seizures in human beings. So, if your cat happens to be experiencing seizures on a regular basis, will CBD for cat seizures work as well?
Based on various research studies involving both humans and animals, CBD may be able to significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in cats.
To find out everything you need to know about using CBD for cat seizures, read on below.
A Brief Look at Cat Seizures
Seizures usually happen due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Generally, cat seizures fall into two groups, those caused by issues inside the animal’s skull and those caused by problems outside the skull.
Cat seizures can be quite scary for any pet owner. Though brief, normally lasting 1 or 2 minutes, these episodes are characterized by a variety of frightening symptoms:
- Body tremors
- Thrashing limbs
- Loss of bladder control
- Teeth chomping
- Abnormal growling
- Loss of consciousness
- Glassy eyes
These brief seizures can be quite scary, causing serious concern in pet parents who are forced to witness the suffering of their pets. Even more so if they happen multiple times a day.
Using CBD for cat seizures can reduce the frequency of these episodes, even though it is not a cure for the underlying cause.
Does CBD Work for Seizures?
The exact reason why CBD works at stopping seizures is unclear as of now. However, scientific experts believe that this occurs through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS’ existence is only a recent discovery from which we might have much to learn. Yet, scientists are at least certain that it plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. Simply put, the ECS is sort of a supervisor to various bodily functions and processes. It works round the clock to maintain optimum performance by resolving any imbalances that might happen. In fact, an increasing number of scientists now postulate that the ECS is one of the largest and most important systems in the body.
The endocannabinoid system consists of receptors CB1 and CB2 distributed all over the body, in major organs, muscles, and cells. Through its indirect interaction with CB2 receptors, CBD appears able to inhibit the activity of various hormones. Coincidentally, scientists believe this is the reason it might help normalize the electrical activity in the brain.
The Proven CBD Effects on Seizures
One study sought to test the effectiveness of CBD on seizures caused by a rare form of epilepsy referred to as Drave Syndrome. Scientists conducted a placebo-controlled double-blind study that included a group of 120 kids and young adults suffering from the condition. The study saw publication in The New England Journal Of Medicine back in 2017.
For 14 days, all the members of the group continued to receive their antiepileptic medication. One half got a placebo, while the other half received a daily dose of 20mg of CBD solution orally.
At the end of the study, the median number of monthly seizures in the group taking CBD was down to 5.9 from 12.4. On the other hand, the monthly number of seizures in the control group merely went from 14.9 to 14.1.
CBD’s effect on seizures was also under research in a study focusing on dogs. 89% of dogs that received CBD in a clinical trial experienced a significant reduction in the frequency of seizures. In this small study involving 16 dogs, seven dogs in the control group got a placebo, while the other nine received CBD derived from hemp. The study, performed by neurologist Dr. Stephanie McGrath of Colorado State University, lasted 12 weeks.
Is There Specific Info for Cats?
Most of the available information and research on the effect of CBD on seizures is from studies on either humans or dogs. Thus, there’s minimal material specifically relating to cats. However, the fact is that the ECS is mainly the same in all mammals bar for the size of it. Thus, experts believe that the observations drawn from existing studies might pretty well apply to cats as well.
Other Benefits of CBD In Cats
In addition to reducing the frequency of seizures, CBD also comes with a variety of potential benefits for felines. For starters, after you start giving your cat consistent doses of CBD, your feline friend will experience an uplifting change in mood and improved appetite.
CBD for cats may also help with a variety of feline conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, and anxiety, among others.
Is CBD Safe for Cats?
While CBD might be generally safe for cats, it is best that you first talk to your vet before administering it to your pet. This way, you will be able to seek advice on the optimum dosage levels, given your cat’s condition, from a qualified professional.
As far as any possible side effects concerns, using CBD for cat seizures does not come with any risk of making your cat high. CBD has, generally, only trace amounts of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive effect. Thus, not enough to actually get them remotely high.
However, CBD may cause mild diarrhea, headache, increased thirst, or lethargy if taken in very large amounts. If your cat appears to be suffering from any of these side effects, consider reducing the CBD dosage, or skip a dose altogether. These side effects will subside or disappear entirely after a short while.
Since CBD has a similar effect on cats as it does on human beings. You can expect to see your cat more relaxed after taking a dose.
It is important to note that the main cause of these side effects often turns out to be either:
- Inaccurate dosage
- Poor product quality
- The presence of harmful ingredients during the extraction of the CBD.
With that in mind, it is best that you always double-check the quality and ingredients used in the CBD products you intend to give your pet. Most importantly, pet owners should avoid giving CBD products designed for human use to their beloved pets. Such products may come with additional ingredients that are harmful to pets, even though they are safe for human consumption. Furthermore, there is a significant difference in the dosage levels of human products and pet products. For the best outcome, pet owners should only stick to high-quality CBD products specifically designed for cats.
To save your kitty from the possibility of experiencing adverse effects, proper dosage is essential. Not only that but proper dosage also enhances the chances of achieving the desired outcome of reduced frequency of seizures.
It is always good that you start with lower doses and increase them gradually to find the most suitable level for your pet. Recommended dosage levels vary between 0.1 to 2 mg/kg two times a day – according to the existing available data on cats. In some cases, the dosage level may go as high as 5 mg/kg twice a day.
In addition, pet owners must use the most efficient method of CBD administration for pets to see any positive outcome. There are many different types of CBD products, each one linked to a specific method of administration. When it comes to animals, oral administration seems to be the most efficient so far out of them all. Inhalation and trans-dermal administration bypasses the first-pass metabolism by not taking the CBD through the liver. That might increase bioavailability overall, yet, it’s also both difficult and risky for the cat to absorb it that way. Thus, it’s best to avoid those methods.
CBD For Cat Seizures – The Takeaway
If your cat has been experiencing regular seizures, you can use CBD to reduce the frequency of these frightening episodes. Thus, CBD might help you improve your furry friend’s quality of life. There’s still little research evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBD in specifically treating seizures in cats. However, the existing studies on humans and dogs paint a promising picture. Thanks to the similar nature of the ECS in all mammals, you are well within reason to expect the same effects when it comes to your feline companion.
Once you decide to use CBD for cat seizures, after consulting your vet, it is important that you choose a high-quality product. Go for a manufacturer that posts its 3 rd party test results both online and on their product’s label.
Before ordering CBD products online, be sure to check their legal status in your state to avoid any unnecessary run-ins with the law.
CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy in Cats
If you have never seen what a seizure looks like, you may be terrified to witness your cat having one. They aren’t easy to watch because you can’t do much for them except keep them from hurting themselves.
What you can do is protect them from the dangers around them. Move them away from potential hazards like stairwells or drop-offs and keep their head away from furniture or rocks that could harm them. After you do this, it’s just a matter of waiting for the seizure to pass.
If your cat suffers from seizures and epilepsy, a suitable alternative that may help manage them is CBD oil. It’s worth looking into as it has the potential to help your furry friend.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is the acronym used for cannabidiol. While other cannabinoids may be present in several types of plants all over the world, CBD is unique in that it is only found in cannabis and accounts for up to 40% of the plant extract. Therefore, being a cannabinoid has nothing to do with whether it derives from marijuana; it depends on the molecular structure.
CBD oil derives from hemp. The reason is that hemp has the least concentrations of THC (the cannabinoid that marijuana is famous for as it causes you to feel the head high). THC, however, is toxic to animals such as dogs and cats. Therefore, hemp-derived CBD is preferable for two reasons.
Is CBD Legal for Cats?
As mentioned above, when CBD derives from hemp, it is low in THC and perfectly legal. You need to ensure you are buying CBD extracted from hemp, as it can come from marijuana
as well. This type should only be for sale in a legal marijuana dispensary in a state that has legalized medical marijuana. It will not be safe for pets, however.
What Effects Does CBD Have on a Cat?
CBD can trigger the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to work more efficiently. The process improves the body’s response to pain, tremors, appetite, metabolism, and more.
The ECS is responsible for bringing balance back to the body. Its primary job is to maintain the status of homeostasis within the body. Homeostasis improves the efficiency of every body system, with the ECS working as a “supervisor” for these systems. All mammals have an ECS, and scientists believe it is the most critical system of the body.
We have only known about the ECS since the 1990s, and researchers are still learning much
about it. Many people have never heard of it because information about the ECS didn’t exist when we were in school.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects for Cats?
If your cat is rubbing their head, they may have a headache. The most common of the three is diarrhea. If you notice it, reduce the amount of CBD you’re giving your cat or skip a dose entirely. Reducing or stopping treatment will typically mitigate the problem.
Reduce the amount of the doses going forward until they’ve had a chance to adjust. CBD is not addictive. There have been very few reports of side-effects, and they have never been life-threatening. The worst side-effects may be extreme tiredness, diarrhea, or headaches. You do not need to have any concerns about your cat getting high from using CBD. It will not impair their ability to function normally. Nor will it cause them to have any issues with dependency.
How Can I Get a Hold of CBD Oil?
CBD is available in many places, especially on the internet. Please, do some research to learn the difference between a quality CBD oil and one that may be questionable. It’s also essential that you speak to your veterinarian and keep them in the loop when it comes to decisions about your cat’s care. They should agree with whatever you decide to do and know about it.
Is CBD the Right Option for My Cat?
It’s important to understand that CBD is not a cure. It is an excellent tool for managing many different conditions, such as epilepsy and seizure conditions. Whether it’s the best option for your furry friend, is something only you can answer. CBD may be the right choice for your cat, but only you can determine that. It requires you to do a fair amount of research and learn the pros and cons. You should understand the general way in which it works within the body, and you should prepare for the good and the bad.
You must run it by your veterinarian, especially if your cat is already taking other medications. CBD can be a natural blood thinner, and this means that it could interact with other medicines that also thin the blood. Your veterinarian will be able to inform you properly, as will your own research.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
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