MANAGING EPILEPSY IN DOGS
If your companion is diagnosed with canine epilepsy it can be a disturbing and confusing time. Below is a selection of products frequently used or recommended, along with some hints and tips for those new to managing the condition.
OMEGA RICH FISH OIL
Milk thistle helps to support the liver, which is the real powerhouse within the body. It is responsible for breaking down and detoxifying harmful agents and acetifying other substances essential for metabolism.
Taurine is another important nutrient that plays a critical role in the function of the nervous system. A Taurine deficiency is widely recognised as a cause of seizures in canine epilepsy. In addition to its specific benefits to the brain, it also affects blood sugar levels (implicated in seizures).
SKULLCAP & VALERIAN
Phobias and nervous disorders can be really hard to deal with – both for pets and from their owners’ perspectives. Widely used as a treatment for noise phobias and fears associated with fireworks, thunder and gunfire, as well as for general excitability and hyperactivity, this herbal medicine is one of our best sellers.
GLUTEN FREE HEMP TREATS
August 2018 saw the launch of HOWND’s delicious range of 100% natural, hemp wellness dog treats, which are cute, cookie-shaped vegetarian snacks that come in five different delicious flavours. They enhance the well-being of dogs of all breeds and ages and are Made in the UK from ethically sourced local ingredients.
This pill crusher is the strongest and sturdiest that you will find. Most importantly, it is easy to use even with wet hands. It incorporates a handy tablet holder that’s ideal for storing tablets when away from home. It reduces tablets to powder easily and quickly and is perfect for when you need to give medication or supplements to animals that find taking pills difficult.
PLEASE NOTE – I AM NOT MEDICALLY TRAINED AND MY TIPS & ADVICE ARE BASED ON MY OWN OR OTHERS EXPERIENCE IN MANAGING EPILEPSY. IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH YOUR VET. THIS IS ESSENTIAL WHEN CHANGING OR ADDING TO ANY REGIME.
Keep an epilepsy diary or download a tracker on your smartphone – the RVC does an excellent and easy to use one. This can be uploaded directly to your vet or neurologist and allows you to make a note of the times that seizures occur and work out when they tend to happen – for example; are they close to med times? What you were doing and whether you have introduced any new chemicals to your house or your dog are also important factors to consider. If you can start to build a picture you will know what to avoid or what the triggers are.
Giving medications at the same time every day and evenly spaced ensures stability. Using an AM/PM pill box stocked up weekly ensures you always have enough drugs and that the correct doses are given. Used in conjunction with a repeat reminder alarm on your smartphone, it is an effective solution.
FOOD AND HUNGER
Many of the prescription AEDs increase hunger and thirst, and low blood sugar may play a part in seizures. To more accurately control their intake by dividing total intake into 3 daily meals. You can add frozen green beans to bulk out meals and satisfy hunger, as well as giving fruit like apples (no pips) strawberries and blueberries. Raw vegetables such as carrots can also be given in between as snacks (please check whether it is safe for dogs to consume). We also give a bedtime snack to carry through to the morning and there are many suitable treats in our shop.
If your dog sleeps near to stairways that can’t be secured, it can be a hazard during a seizure. Install stair gates that can be closed for their safety and if left alone, ensure there are no hazards or breakable objects in the room. In-home cameras are now relatively cheap and easy to install for extra peace of mind. If kept in a crate then cot bumpers work for some.
Information and understanding of what is happening and what you are giving your dog provide a clearer picture of what is happening and why. There are many groups available online. You should never be afraid to speak to your vet and ask why they are prescribing or recommending products. I cannot emphasise that enough.