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Preventing Seizures

Natural Dog Remedies Can Out-Do Drugs

People often seek out a holistic veterinarian due to concerns about conventional medications. One new client recently inquired about her 3-year-old female poodle diagnosed with epilepsy last year. The traditional veterinarian’s prescription for phenobarbital was helping to control the seizures, but the owner questioned the long-term consequences of feeding her pet the drug for the rest of its life. Surely, she thought, there must be a natural alternative.

There are many causes for canine seizures, with epilepsy being the most common. Epilepsy is the term used when the cause is unknown, so testing is needed to ensure other factors are not present. These might include toxicities, especially in younger dogs and puppies (may include vaccines); brain tumors, more common in older dogs and certain breeds such as boxers and Boston terriers; infections, as in meningitis, or immune disorders such as the neurologic disease granulomatous me ningoencephalitis, or GME; parasites, including aberrant heartworms; and regional diseases such as tick-borne illnesses like Lyme or ehrlichiosis.

Common testing includes a physical examination, food hypersensitivity and blood tests, tick serology, urine, fecal and cerebrospinal fluid analyses and a brain scan, which is usually a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Not all tests are needed on all pets because the veterinarian will rule out issues during the process.

If other causes are ruled out and the problem is labeled as epilepsy, phenobarbital can be helpful, although side effects can occur as a result, including liver disease. In every case, the animal should be examined at least two to four times a year for possible complications from the drug, starting with a blood profile and urinalysis. It’s always best to supplement such treatment with natural remedies to help protect the liver, including milk thistle and choline.

Alternatively, natural therapies don’t usually lead to side effects or require the same intense regimen of regular evaluation. Patients have experienced good results with phosphatidylcholine, which works to stabilize brain cell membranes, and so reduce and prevent seizures, while also providing detoxification support for the liver. Phosphatidylcholine supplements are also used to prevent and treat another common neurological problem in pets—cognitive disorder (akin to Alzheimer’s in humans).

Dimethylglycine supplementation aids in treating seizures, as well. It both supports the nervous system and provides energy to the body’s cells.

Herbs, including valerian, passionflower, kava, gastrodia (tian ma), uncaria (gou teng), ostrea concha (mu li) and buthus martensi (quan xie), can also be helpful. Because they can be powerful natural medicines that could interact with each other and with prescription medicines, use them only under veterinary supervision.

Homeopathic remedies are also widely incorporated into natural treatments of seizures such as tinctures of stramonium and belladonna. A twice-daily homeopathic detoxification treatment for pets experiencing seizures from any cause, using berberis, nux vomica and lymphomyosot, is recommended, as well.

Due to the overwhelming success of using natural therapies for pets with epilepsy at our Paws & Claws Animal Hospital, most do not need to rely on medications for the problem. Those pets that arrive on a regimen of strong anticonvulsant drugs are slowly weaned off of them, resulting in improved health, lower vet bills and better control of recovery. Most never have another seizure, as long as they stay on the natural therapy protocol prescribed.


Shawn Messonnier, a doctor of veterinary medicine practicing in Plano, TX, is the award-winning author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats and Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets. Visit PetCareNaturally.com.

Old to new | New to old
Dec 20, 2013 05:32 pm
 Posted by  143sophie

After my four year old lab had cluster seizures in July 2103, the vet prescribed potassium bromide (Kbr) I was interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an alternative to the Kbr. A vet who practices TCM recommended giving her Tian Ma Plus II. I'm hoping to wean her off of the Kbr, and exclusively use the Tian Ma Plus II. She has been taking both pills since September 2013, and had one seizure (not nearly as violent as the previous seizures)in November 2013. I'm waiting to see when the vets may recommend starting to wean her off of the Kbr.

Jan 3, 2014 09:21 am
 Posted by  prachi

my dog is 3 years old. when he was of 6 month something happened to him one day, his body was shivering, he got some attack. we consult to the dr. and he said that it was a fit. The dr. suggested a medicine named mysaline which has to b given 1/4 tab 7 days regularly and then stop that medicine. and he said that by this medicine the time period of fit will increase. but now my dog is 3 years old and now also fits are coming after every 1 or 2 months to my dog. please suggest me proper medicine so that this disease can cure.

Jan 28, 2014 08:18 am
 Posted by  marindog

my 9 year old boxer has had 3 seizures in the last month. The vet prescribed phenobarbital. I read about some dietary supplement called neuroplex. I bought it, it doesn't say it is specifically for dogs. My vet has not heard of it. I don't know the dosage. Also, I hope it is okay Please let me know if anyone has tried this. thanks

Feb 19, 2014 02:03 pm
 Posted by  enzosmom

My Yorkie has suffered from seizures for four years and I have only treated him holistically after ruling out liver shunt and Cushing's disease. We started with single homeopathic treatment, arsenica album keeping him seizure free for five months. He started to regress and I sought out Chinese medicine and homecooked turkey or white fish, veggies and quinoa. He started Erchonia laser treatments as well as chiropractic treatments. If your dog suffers from seizures, find a vet certified in chiropractic care. Often, seizure dogs have problems with their atlas and adjustments can be the cure. Enzo was seizure free for a year and then started having them monthly but they were over quickly. He also took Di Tan Tang for a long time successfully. Anxiety may also be a root cause for my dog. Currently he gets adjusted monthly, has a laser treatment as Erchonia lasers have a seizure protocol and I give him a homeopathic blend twice a day and he has again been seizure free since September.

Jul 21, 2014 01:39 pm
 Posted by  nicolemchouinard

I have a 3 year old Australian Shepherd that has been suffering from seizures for about 1 1/2 years. Of course our doctor perscribed Phenobarbital and after that didn't seem to work completely, she is now on both Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. I really want to get her off these medications, since I know that they can be damaging to her liver and kidneys. She is now having seizures a little more frequently and she is also having what we call "freak-outs". Her seizures are typically happening at night, but her "freak-outs" are any time of the day. Since she has been on both medications, her seizure severity has lessened, but this past week she has had one that was pretty bad. I would like to know the best natural remedy to start giving to her to wean her off the medication. Because of course, when I talk to my vet about this she completely changes the subject. Thank you in advance for any guidance that you can offer. It breaks my heart to see her going through these seizures and "freak-outs".

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