My first interaction with a Vizsla was in 1998. “Marcus Farkus” was so demure
and sweet with the cutest red stub wag, I thought "If I EVER got a pure-bred dog, it would be one of these!". In 2016, I went for it and I got a joyful, bundle of Vizsla puppy to adore. My house became a home for Harper and my heart was full! Everything was perfect until one day, Harper became wobbly, her stance, her head, her focus were all off. We rushed to the vet each time she had such ‘seizures’ but there were so many unknowns. My purebred dog seemed to have some sort of epilepsy. There was an early moment of regret for going the pure-bred route, but I quickly learned a high percentage of all dogs suffer seizures and there are different kinds of epileptic episodes. I read all I could about it, joined groups, saw 5 vets, an animal homeopath and a dog neurologist.
This was all uncharted territory for me as a dog owner. One episode was so bad I wondered if she was ever going to recover. I wondered if I was cruel for not ending her trauma right then and there.
According to the vet, my options included Phenobarbital and Zonisamide. These had what I considered to be harsh side effects. If she had been over 10 years old, I might have considered them but I doubted Harper would see 7 years if I started her on those drugs at 9 months. The final decision-making straw was reading one of the side effects, in fine print was …seizures?!? How would I know then if the drugs were preventing or inducing an episode? I decided I’d rather take my chances with something I understood. Cannabis.
At this time CBD was just hitting the market. Naturally I had my concerns with CBD and my sensitive pup. The last thing Harper needed was to be high! I spoke with companies directly and as many folks with experience as I could find back then. (CBD has grown up fast since 2016!) I decided I would try THC free CBD myself for 3 days to see what it did to me before I gave it to Harper. It was true, CBD was not at all psychoactive. I decided to use CBD to treat Harpers epileptic episodes.
I started with a THC free oil. The next time an episode started I gave her 4 drops (about 5 mg) every 5 mins until she was fine. It was miraculous. It seemed to halt the episode, it got her back to ‘normal’ (for a vizsla!) and I was beyond thrilled.
After a few months I felt confident enough to try a full spectrum oil. The difference is, it’s the whole plant, with all the terpenes including a minute amount of THC. Yes, I tried it on myself first again. The effect was the same and possibly even better. I now use a full spectrum CBD oil for Harper and I use the same one myself. Yes, we share! However, I still had more to learn.
Timing is critical. I learned to keep bottles of CBD in every purse, back pack and glove compartment. Do not hesitate! The instant you see signs of an episode, treat immediately. This is crucial. The added bonus of CBD is that even if you are misjudging the signs, it’s ok to dose them anyway. There is no downside. CBD reduces the intensity of an episode and it also reduces frequency. That means it can be used preventatively. I love that CBD helps prevent issues as well as treats them! Currently I give Harper 4 drops of CBD twice a week as a preventative. If and when I see any possible signs, I dose her a few times until she’s ok again. Now we might have 3 episodes a year! And if she does have one, I am confident we can control it. I am no longer scared of Harper's epilepsy because we have found a safe and reliable treatment with excellent results and no side effects.
Harper put CBD to the test recently by getting into some gummies. When I say some, she had about 40 – approximately 800mg! I was definitely worried but I reassured myself and even ‘google’ confirmed that there really is no such thing as a CBD overdose. She seemed totally fine and quite her normal self. 20 mins later she started to shake a bit, then she got the “I need to barf” look. We went outside and she purged. Phew! She came back in happy and wagging. Although it was not an ideal situation, I was so impressed with CBD yet again because this dog could have that much CBD and still been ok. Perhaps not every dog would react the same way, but this is Harpers tale. I was so grateful for this miraculous plant for its healing power and even more so because I know it’s not harmful.
Harper weighs 45 lbs and has a very strong stomach. We have learned a dose for her is approximately 5mg. She licks it right out of my hand. All dogs are different, just like we are. I have helped many people navigate giving CBD to their pets both topically and internally. I see so many videos posted by concerned pet owners of wobbly or shaky dogs and I always hope someone turns them onto CBD.
CBD is great for animals and definitely worth consideration for prevention, acute and chronic issues, pain in aging dogs, and stress.
CBD supports the endocannabinoid system which helps our bodies achieve homeostasis in all body systems. Basically, that means CBD helps our body communicate with itself for optimal performance. It is especially useful in epileptic issues because it’s efficacy is so evident and immediate. CBD is also great for issues that are less obvious including cancer, inflammation and other diseases.
I literally do not know what I would do without CBD and I am so happy Harper is a CBD poster dog. I hope pet owners always consider CBD for their beloved animals. Apparently 25% of all CBD sales are for pets! Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, CBD is a safe and reliable god send!
-Pam and Harper