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Monday, August 30, 2010

ASK THE VET: Natural Options for Dealing with Your Dog's Seizures

by Pat Bradley, DVM
(c) C.A., reader copyright on file
Molly is a Sweet, Happy Girl

Hi Dr. Pat,
I was wondering if you could give me some ideas or “natural” ways to assist with my 4 year old, lab-mix dog, Molly, with her seizures. I’ve been to two vets, and they have recommended that we continue to log Molly’s seizures before we decide on Phenobarbital. (They’ve informed me of possible liver damage from Phenobarbital as well.) Molly has had 3 seizures over 2 months ~ about 16 days apart.


Hi C.A.
Is there anything more frightening than seeing your dog have a grand mal seizure in front of you for the first time?  It’s the stuff nightmares are made of!  It’s comforting to remember that the animals aren’t aware or suffering.  But we onlookers sure are: our eyes are popping out of their sockets and our hearts are beating out of our chests!  We feel the need to DO something.  And FAST!!

So I really appreciate the calm attitude of the vets you’ve seen so far.  Anti-seizure medications can take away a dog’s fun-loving personality. We vets HATE that.  But we also hate the possibility of the brain damage that can result from frequent seizures. If Molly’s seizures occur only once or twice a month, no medicine may be the best choice for now.

And, once your dog is on Phenobarb, it’s hard to track the frequency and triggers for the seizures. Sometimes you can pinpoint what triggers the seizures: flashing lights, over-excitement, loud bangs, vaccines and anesthetics are some I’ve seen, and these can be controlled. For instance, you could just move the loud July 4th and New Year’s Eve parties to someone else’s house (and what better excuse to keep from having to spend the first day of the New Year cleaning up a huge party mess: “I’m only doing it for the well-being of my dog”.)

Some people are not satisfied with the choices that conventional medicine offers, so this is a great opportunity for me to introduce you to some of my favorite organizations:

·         The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association     
·         The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy     
·         The National Institute of Health  is currently sponsoring a 5-year study of popular herbs, examining, among other things, their effects on seizure disorders.  I’d definitely recommend that you follow this study.

But hold onto your hat!  These veterinarians not only have more options to offer you for Molly’s seizures, but also new ways to think about health and healing. You may find, like Dorothy, that you’re not in Kansas anymore!  And you might just find that you like it there.


Write to with your question for Dr. Pat.

For a personal consultation about your pet's needs, visit Holistic Veterinary Services.
Dr. Pat's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian

* A NOTE FROM CARRIE: To make it easier for readers to find Dr. Pat's healthcare resources, I will start a sidebar list of these sites, with a picture of Dr. Pat to help you locate it. Can I help with anything else?

The books I share from Amazon can often be purchased in used form, making them much more affordable. For instance, the price for Natural Dog Care is less than $1, as I write this. Wow!
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