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AKC Canine Health Foundation Funded Trial to Study Efficiency of CBD for Epileptic Dogs


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), which has funded more than $2 million for canine epilepsy research, launched an initiative in 2017 to further understand the most common neurological disorder that affects pure and mixed-breed dogs.

Improved treatments are urgently needed, especially for dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy or where side effects of currently available drugs are not tolerated, according to the organization.

To that, the CHF has announced the beginning a major clinical trial to study the use of cannabidiol to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. Stephanie McGrath, MS, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will lead Efficacy of Cannabidiol (CBD) for the Treatment of Canine Epilepsy.

Below is an excerpt from the CHF website which provides an overview of the trial which will take place from Oct. 1st, 2017 - Sept. 30th, 2020

"Epilepsy is the most common neurologic condition in dogs. Approximately 20-30% of dogs receiving standard therapy remain uncontrolled for their seizures. Additionally, the side effects of the antiepileptic drugs (AED) are often unacceptable. Thus, there is a need for an AED that is efficacious with minimal side effects. Cannabidiol (CBD), a prominent non-psychotropic component of the Cannabis sativa plant, has been shown to have anticonvulsant properties.

While CBD offers promise as a treatment for canine epilepsy, controlled studies are needed to prove its effectiveness. In this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial, client-owned dogs with uncontrolled epilepsy will be enrolled following a full seizure evaluation, including bloodwork and magnetic resonance imaging. The canine patients will first receive either a placebo or CBD in addition to their standard AED protocol and then the opposite drug in this crossover designed study. Seizure frequency and medication side effects will be monitored by owners using a seizure log and questionnaire. Regular CBD plasma concentrations, routine bloodwork, and serial physical examinations will be monitored by the investigator. 

The primary goal of the study is to determine the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of canine epilepsy. If CBD is effective in decreasing seizure frequency, it has the potential to improve the quality and length of life for dogs with uncontrolled epilepsy, and add a much-needed tool for veterinarians in the treatment of canine epilepsy."