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Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common neurological condition affecting canines. Globally, nearly 6 percent of pet dogs have been diagnosed. The disease is characterized by seizures that occur due to trauma, tumors in the brain, infections, or other issues in the blood or internal organs.

As the condition cannot be cured, medication is typically the first line of defense in managing symptoms. A veterinarian will most likely prescribe phenobarbital to reduce the frequency of seizures. Potassium bromide may also be used to supplement the treatment if phenobarbital isn’t effective on its own. There are other options for helping to control pet epilepsy, but anticonvulsant drugs are usually the foundation of a treatment approach. A recent study has pointed to cannabidiol’s effectiveness for the condition, which could have a significant impact on the development of future idiopathic epilepsy medicines.

When tested in a total of 16 dogs over a 12 week period, CBD oil was shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of seizures with a success rate of nearly 90 percent. The dogs participating in the study were all regularly medicated with standard anticonvulsant drugs, including phenobarbital and potassium bromide. They remained on their prescribed courses of medication through the study period. One group, consisting of nine randomly assigned dogs, was given a dose of CBD, while the remaining seven dogs were given a placebo. Neither the owners nor the researchers knew which dogs were given the CBD and which were given the placebo during the 12 week period.

Over the testing period, the dogs that were later revealed to be given CBD oil were shown to have far fewer seizures than those in the placebo group. The researchers also saw a direct correlation between the CBD levels in the dog’s blood and the degree of seizure reduction, which contributed to a dose adjustment for an ongoing clinical trial that’s also testing the CBD oil benefits for dogs with seizures.

So far, the results of the study show promise for the development of cannabidiol treatments for pets that help improve upon what’s already possible with anticonvulsant drugs. And while the health benefits of CBD oil for pets are more widely purported than proven through clinical study, so far, these findings do provide stronger evidence for the treatment of seizures using CBD. They are also fairly consistent with results obtained from studies testing CBD for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy in humans.

If your pet is affected by a seizure disorder or other health issue you think may be improved with CBD, speak to your veterinarian. Scientists are learning more and more about what CBD can do, not only for humans, but other mammals as well. Before you decide to purchase and give your dog or cat a CBD-based product, you want to make sure there are no serious health risks or questionable ingredients. A trusted veterinary professional can help guide you in the best selection, dosing, and administration method for the specific needs of your pet.