Canine Epilepsy Can be Caused By Nutritional Deficiencies
By Luella May
Epilepsy has become a growing concern for dog owners and veterinarians alike. It can be traumatic watching helplessly as your best friend suffers from an epileptic seizure. Yet, oftentimes the solution is a simple one. It involves correcting the dog's diet and focusing on possible nutritional deficiencies.
Epilepsy is caused by a short circuit in the electrical system of the brain which, in turn, causes sudden physical and behavioral changes. Symptoms include seizures, loss of consciousness, stiffness, salivating, urinating, muscle twitching, and staring off into space.
Canine epilepsy has many causes which can range from serious conditions to simply poor nutrition. These include:
*Brain tumors and other types of cancers
*Low blood sugar
*Severe worm infestation
*Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, the key missing nutrients being vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, taurine, magnesium, and calcium.
Although some conventional medications may be effective, many come with side effects that can lead to other symptoms and conditions. Therefore, many dog owners are turning to more natural and safer ways of treating seizure disorders.
Feeding your dog a proper diet is of utmost importance. Society today has a "fast food mentality" and it is no different with respect to pets. While commercial dog foods are advertised as being healthy and nutritional, the truth is that the process in which these foods are made actually destroys the much needed vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are essential for good health. For example, the amino acid taurine plays a critical role in the way the nervous system functions and a magnesium deficiency is linked to seizures. Additionally, commercial dog foods are laden with chemicals and additives that further damage the body. Allergies, hypertension, diabetes, nervousness, weight problems, dry skin, seizures, and even cancer are often the result of such poor quality foods.
Research has shown that a low quality diet which includes chemicals, fillers, stabilizers, and other unnatural ingredients produces epileptic-like changes in the brains of rats that eat it regularly. Additional ingredients such as gluten, grains, soy, and corn can also lead to allergies and poor health conditions. Dogs are basically carnivores that require quality sources of protein in order to maintain good health. If plants, cereal and grains are the main sources of a dog's diet, a dog may develop a protein deficiency. Any proteins that are present are also partially destroyed during the heating process. All canned and dry dog foods are made by using this heating process and are, therefore, likely protein deficient.
Raw food is the best diet for a dog. It contains the best sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes. This type of diet will go a long way toward controlling or even eliminating seizures. However, the diet must be well balanced and tailored to the dog's individual needs. Any type of poorly planned diet, including raw, will not supply the essential nutrients a dog needs to achieve optimum health.
After the first epileptic seizure occurrence, the first step is to rule out any serious conditions. Stay calm as the seizure runs its course. If the dog is near objects that could inflict harm, if possible, gently move the dog to a clear area. Insure your own safety at all times and make certain to keep away from the dog's mouth. Please keep in mind that if the seizure lasts for five minutes or longer, this is a medical emergency and a veterinarian or emergency clinic should be contacted immediately.