FORT COLLINS, Colo (CBS4) – Parents of children who suffer attacks swear by the cannabinoid. They say it slows down the number and severity of seizures suffered by their children. Now, researchers at Colorado State University are studying whether it has the same effect in dogs with epilepsy.
"We're really looking for the ideal treatment," said Dr. Stephanie McGrath, badistant professor and veterinarian at University Veterinary Hospital of Colorado State University.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath at CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (CBS Credit)
McGrath specializes in neurology and neurosurgery. At this time, she and other veterinarians have two or three good medications to treat epilepsy, but they have strong side effects that can sometimes be debilitating.
"The two drugs we most commonly use are phenobarbital and potbadium bromide as first-line drugs," explains McGrath.
When parents publicly talked about how cannabinoids helped their children with seizures, it was natural to wonder whether the same could be true for dogs with epilepsy.
"Well, if it works potentially for pediatric epilepsy," why not try it for canine epilepsy, "McGrath told CBS4.
LINK: CSU Study of cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs
Now, she is at the forefront of research on the effects of cannabis-based cannabinoids in epileptic dogs.
"There is certainly a lot of interest among pet owners, with local veterinarians, with the family veterinarians and with many specialists throughout the county, "said McGrath.
The CBD oil used in the The study is conducted by a Colorado company called Applied Basic Science, and is offered for sale to the public with general guidelines on how to dose your pet.Some of the research that McGrath is doing is Find out what is the right dose for the animals.
"It has approximately 2 to 3 attacks per day," said Pam Uhlenkamp.
Uhlenkamp's precious dog, Ferguson, suffers from epilepsy. She said that Ferguson would take over 5 minutes at a time, and that it would take almost an hour to recover.
"It was really scary because you think your dog is in total pain," he told CBS4.
Uhlenkamp enrolled Ferguson in McGrath's study as soon as he found out. Ferguson underwent an MRI, and a lumbar puncture, he took cannabinoids and a placebo, and Uhlenkamp kept a daily record of his progress.
"First of all, his attacks were reduced, it took about two weeks, maybe three, to like the total effect, and they went to around 2 to 3 per week," Uhlenkamp said.
McGrath is now in his second CBD study in dogs with epilepsy. He is currently enrolling 60 dogs in the new study. And while, she can not draw any definitive conclusions about CBD oil at this time, she has hope.
"We have not seen anything that has negatively affected our dogs," he said.
Uhlenkamp is already a believer.
"I think it could help many dogs"