Tuesday, April 13, 2010

...............................................................................for Liz......................

Here is a highly excerpted digest of a very good source I came across on the subject. This post is dedicated to the young companion animal of a dear friend, in the hopes that a solution will be swift, inexpensive, and permanent but not final. (Yeah, bad habit, that gallows humor...)

"The Role of a Natural and Healthy Diet

in the Management of Canine Epilepsy"

by Chris Alderson, Kathy Herman and Marion Mitchell


It is becoming increasingly clear to many owners of seizing dogs and some vets that diet plays a vital role in the management and control of canine epilepsy. Correcting nutritional deficiencies can help reduce or control seizures in epileptic dogs, and in some cases, may eliminate seizures in dogs completely....


(1) Changing from a supermarket commercial diet, to a superior grade commercial diet with premium ingredients, including superior sources of protein and free from artificial preservatives and additives ( including chemical preservatives BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin and propylene glycol which is sometimes added to keep "chewy " foods moist) artificial colors and flavors and sweeteners ( added to make poor quality dog food more appealing to dogs).

(2) Supplementing the home prepared diet including added vitamins/minerals/nutritional supplements.

(3) Feeding a raw diet commonly known as "BARF" an acronym for"Biologically Appropriate Raw Food" or "Bones And Raw Food" including added vitamins/minerals/nutritional supplements.All of the above-mentioned diet improvements can benefit your dog's overall health. In this article, we cannot begin to address all of the advantages and issues related to changing diets and the differences between diets.....

...PLEASE do not consider changing your dog's diet without first understanding what a canine's diet should and should not include. For dogs on anti-epilepsy drugs (AEDs) diet changes MUST be discussed with your vet.


There are 9-12 essential amino acids that are essential to life and can only be obtained through what the dog eats. Non-essential amino acids are also vital for life, but are called 'non-essential' because the canine's body can manufacture them, IF, adequate sources of the essential amino acids are included in the diet.

While protein content is important, the source of the protein is of greater importance. In a commercial dog food, protein is provided by combining animal sources (such as meat, by-products, chicken, cheese, milk, fish, turkey or lamb) and grain sources (such as corn, wheat, rice and soy). The sum of these proteins appears on dog food packages as crude protein. Many amino acids are available only from animal protein sources, and if plant/vegetable/cereal/grain are the main protein sources, a dog may develop an animal protein deficiency. (When the package lists these protein sources first in the ingredient list or these sources dominate the first five items in the ingredient list, the food is most definitely deficient in animal protein.) When heated, proteins are partially destroyed - all dry and canned commercial dog food is heated in the manufacturing process ...This protein deficiency in turn, results in deficiencies of amino acids ...

"Diets deficient in amino acids -- chemicals that make up proteins -- can significantly increase susceptibility to epileptic seizures in rats"...Taurine is one of the amino acids that plays a critical role in the function of the nervous system. Deficiencies of this amino acid are widely recognized as a cause of seizures in humans, felines and canines. Taurine is one of the non-essential amino acids - one that a canine can only produce if supplied adequate sources of animal protein containing the essential amino acids. In addition to specific benefits for the brain (protective effects, calming effect on nervous system) taurine also affects blood sugar levels (also implicated in seizures), assists in the body's proper use of sodium, calcium and magnesium (deficiencies of which are all implicated in seizures), and the relation of taurine deficiency to zinc deficiency (also a known cause of seizures) among other things. ..."Taurine is an anti-convulsant, successfully used in treating epilepsy," and it "controls brain and nervous system neurons..." ..."It may be that a deficiency of taurine in the developing brain is involved in epileptic attacks."... Taurine is produced from methionine and cysteine if the body is metabolizing these normally."... Carnitine is another non-essential amino acid whose deficiency is associated with epilepsy....



Vitamin B:

...deficiency of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic Acid are implicated in seizures. ...should be supplied in B Complex form in order to avoid any imbalance...."It has long been known that a deficiency of vitamin B6 or any interference with its function can cause seizures in any mammalian species, including man and dog" ...Vitamin B is an extremely important element in an epileptic dog's diet. Vitamin B Complex supplement is crucial if you are feeding a commercial diet and is also supplemented with homemade cooked or raw diets.


Vitamin E

... in human patients, treatment with anticonvulsive drugs is associated with reduced Vitamin E levels. It is believed the Vitamin E deficiency can worsen seizure activity. Vitamin E may ... compensate for a drug-induced vitamin deficiency. Findings from some current studies in human epileptics indicate that adding Vitamin E to the diet of epileptics on AEDs may further reduce seizure frequency.



...Mineral deficiencies known to cause seizures include: Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Calcium and Zinc....

...Magnesium tops the list of mineral deficiencies that are linked to seizures. It works with Vitamin C, D, B6, Calcium, Phosphorus and Protein and assists with the absorption of Vitamin C and Calcium. It is important for nerve function and required for sodium and potassium transport....some forms of epilepsy respond to supplementation of Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Manganese.

...Manganese is a co-factor in many enzymes systems and involved with many body functions, including maintenance of the nervous system. Manganese deficiency is suspected to play a role in epilepsy in humans. Processed and refined foods are deficient in manganese.

..."Selenium depletion in the brain amongst patients with epilepsy constitutes an important triggering factor for the origin of intractable seizures and subsequent neuronal damage." Selenium deficiency is also linked to hypothyroidism.

... Hypocalcemia (low Calcium) can cause seizures because it can effect the nervous and neuromuscular systems. Calcium is essential for nerve impulse conduction. It plays a role in the release of neurotransmitters and activates some enzymes which generate neurotransmitters.

... Zinc is necessary for the production of brain neurotransmitters....Zinc intakes are declining. This is likely to be due to lower meat and higher cereal consumption,... which reduce Zinc content of food...

....please do more reading and research...

title link has great resources; and discusses topic in-depth. highly recommended.

thanks to the wonderful canine who modeled for this piece.

Be seeing you.

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