Seizures can be scary for you and your furry friend. But, can a ketogenic diet cure epilepsy altogether in dogs?
While it is mostly believed that epilepsy is genetic, no genetic tests have been successful in determining its cause. In fact, seizures are one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs.
It is the abnormal and uncontrolled bursts of electricity in your dog’s brain that cause the seizures.
In this blog post, we will talk about epilepsy in dogs and its relationship with the ketogenic diet in detail to help you understand the bigger picture.
Let’s begin, shall we?
What Exactly is Epilepsy in Dogs?
Did you know that, 0.60 to 0.75% of dogs are affected by epilepsy?
Epilepsy in dogs is a neurological condition that causes your doggy friend to have uncontrollable, sudden, and recurring seizures which can either come with or without loss of consciousness.
One of the most common causes of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy.
Other than that, there are the following conditions that cause epilepsy in dogs:
- Eating poison
- Liver disease
- Low or high blood sugar
- Kidney disease
- Electrolyte problems
- Head injury
- Brain cancer
How Epilepsy Is Treated in Dogs?
Treatment of epilepsy is an outpatient procedure as dogs are usually prescribed medication for the seizures. The vet monitors your pet closely and you may even notice some weight gain.
In some cases, your dog may even need to undergo surgery.
However, the seizures can only be treated—not cured with modern medicine. This means that your dog will probably need to take his medicine on the daily.
Dog Breeds Prone to Getting Epilepsy
Genetics play a major role when it comes to seizures and epilepsy.
And, as with many other diseases, there are certain dog breeds that are prone to getting epilepsy.
- Beagle: While Beagles are otherwise generally healthy, they are highly susceptible to seizures due to their genetic makeup
- Keeshond: These are the 85th most popular dog according to the American Kennel Club and are one of the healthier breeds but, they are prone to getting Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Belgian Tervuren: These intelligent working dogs suffer from seizures as well
- Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are #3 most popular dog have various health risks – including epilepsy
- Labrador Retrievers: These happy, faithful, and loving dogs are genetically-predisposed to Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Border Collie: This energetic, alert, and responsive working as well as herding dog is prone to getting epilepsy
- Boxer: The medium-sized short haired dog is is a devoted, friendly, and fearless companion. The dog is prone to various diseases including epilepsy
- Shetland Sheepdog: These dogs herding dogs are also prone to getting epilepsy
- Poodles: The Poodles are beautiful dogs but, because of their genetic makeup, this breed is prone to getting epilepsy and seizures
- Vizsla: This sporting dog which is one of the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds makes an excellent companion but, is prone to getting epilepsy
Ketogenic Diet to Treat Epilepsy in Dogs: Does it Work?
It has been found that eliminating carbohydrates altogether from a dog’s diet can improve his condition.
A recent study found that 48% of the dogs on a ketogenic diet had no seizures at all or had a 50% improvement in their condition while 13% dogs had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. 38% of dogs in the study also has less than a 50% reduction.
Isn’t that amazing!?
In fact, a diet which is high in a ketogenic diet has been linked to the reduction of seizures. Because high fat helps reduce the excitability of the neurons while the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in reducing the seizure intensity as well as frequency.
Dogs are carnivores and they don’t need carbohydrates in their diets.
A ketogenic diet isn’t everything, though.
You need to provide your dog with fresh food which is ideally cooked at a low temperature! This is because the food is rich in nutrients as compared to kibble while the animal-based protein provides the amino acids — L-taurine and I-carnitine — recommended for dogs with seizure disorders.
Carbohydrates affect your dog’s blood sugar levels which can trigger seizures.
Helping Cells Regenerate
Cells are the smallest structures in a living being.
As you’re reading this, a few cells have died in your dog’s body while some have been regenerated. Cell regeneration is a natural process through which your body (and that of your dog’s) gets rid of old, malfunctioning cells and replaces it with new ones.
For the process to be successful, the cell simply needs the right raw material to regenerate which they get from your dog’s diet.
A ketogenic diet speeds up the process of cell generation.
However, your dog still needs a diet which is free of toxins and contains all the essential nutrients.
Removing All The Toxins
The toxins present in your dog’s environment can also cause your furry friend to have seizures.
Toxins are present almost everywhere in your dog’s environment.
It is your dog’s liver that processes toxins in the environment and it’s the diet that assists your furry friend. A diet that can help combat seizures should be rich in toxin-free ingredients as well as ingredients that actually assist your dog’s liver in removing the toxins already present in the body.
For this to work you need a diet which is:
- Made from organic ingredients
- Is low in carbs
- Not processed at high temperatures
Summing Up: Does the Keto Diet Help With Epilepsy in Dogs?
Yes, a ketogenic diet has been linked with reducing—and, in some cases, curing—epilepsy in dogs.
Epilepsy in dogs is a neurological condition that causes your furry companion to have uncontrollable, sudden, and recurring seizures which can either come with or without loss of consciousness.
This can be scary for you as well as your dog.
However, with the right diet, you can relieve the onset of seizures, their frequency, and even cure them. The high fat in a keto diet helps reduce the excitability of the neurons and the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in reducing the seizure intensity and frequency.
But, for it to work, you need a diet which is free of toxins, made from organic ingredients, and is free of sugars.
Do you have questions? If so, leave them in the comments section, and we’ll get back to you shortly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Parker Johnson