Guardian Angel Nancy & Angel Tahoe
Is your dog
seizing between 11 pm and 6 am? If so, please try melatonin.
Melatonin virtually stopped the "after bedtime, early a.m." seizures in
Tahoe and many other dogs.
We had been giving Tahoe melatonin at bedtime for over
two years. One of the reasons we started it was to
help Tahoe sleep through the night. He was a very
restless sleeper who got up several times during the night to pace, ask
to go out, sniff around, and want to come back in. Once we started with
the melatonin it worked to create a normal sleep pattern and he did sleep
through the night. As a bonus I definitely noticed a decrease in his
nighttime seizures. He did not have a seizure
after midnight in more than a year
after beginning melatonin!
In the May 2000 issue (Volume 3, Number 5) of The Whole Dog Journal is an
article on melatonin and the positive results with noise and
thunder-phobic dogs. The article begins on page 3 and
is titled "Bring in Da Noise." The article has
comments by Dr. Dodman and Dr. Linda Aronson. Although it does
not discuss melatonin and canine epilepsy, it does discuss some of the
concerns people might have with use of melatonin and their feelings on
A second article with references to the use of melatonin in dogs can be
found in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,
Volume 215, No. 1, July 1999. "Vet Med Today: Animal
Behavior Case of the Month" was written by Linda
Aronson, DVM, MA; from the Department of Clinical
Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.
The following are excerpts from an email sent by Dr. Aronson to Rich Brady,
who has several epileptic dogs:
"To treat thunderstorm phobia, I use a dose of 3mg for a 35-100 lb dog.
Smaller dogs get 1.5 mg, and larger dogs may get 6mg. The dose is given
either at first evidence of thunderstorm - dog becomes agitated, distant
rumbling of thunder, etc. or prophylactically before the owner leaves the
house when thunderstorms are predicted. Dose may be repeated up to 3
times daily. The latter may be used as a dose for
animals with more generalized stress related
"I have used it, carefully, in dogs with autoimmune disease and also those
on MAOIs; none had a problem. I have had search and rescue dogs
successfully given melatonin to combat their fears of
flying in turbo prop planes. It was the only treatment
that allowed most of them to relax and yet let them
perform their duties at the end of the flight.
"Success is still running about 80%. Most useful for noise phobias,
including thunderstorms, fireworks, gun shot, planes, helicopters, hot
air balloons, show site noises, bird song, truck and
other road noises. It also seems to help some cases of
lick granuloma and separation anxiety." (Dr. Linda
WHERE CAN I BUY MELATONIN?
You can purchase Melatonin anywhere vitamins and supplements are sold. The brand
I buy is by "Natrol" and it comes in 1mg and 3mg tablets. You will want
to get the
natural made, vegetarian and not time-released (Natrol is vegetarian).
Generally a dose of 3mg is appropriate for a 35-100 lb dog. Smaller dogs get 1.5mg,
and larger dogs may get 6mg.
WHAT IS MELATONIN?
"Melatonin is produced in the body by the pineal gland
in the brain. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in food,
is taken in by the body and made into serotonin, a
neurotransmitter (conductor of nerve signals). The pineal
gland takes the serotonin and makes it into melatonin, but only during
the night. (The enzymes in the brain which change
serotonin into melatonin are inactivated by light).
Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter which
assists in melatonin production. It acts as a catalyst to melatonin
production by stimulating cells in the pineal gland to begin making
melatonin in the absence of light. Sometimes, for one reason or another,
the body does not produce adequate amounts of
melatonin for its needs. This can result in insomnia
and depression, among other symptoms. The body's ability
to synthesize melatonin may decrease with age." (http://www.all-natural.com/nutri.html)
Many "epi-parents" have had amazing results with
Melatonin in helping their epis sleep at night,
reducing restlessness, and reducing seizures that happen between bedtime and 6
a.m. I would say from experience that Melatonin works
in about 90% of our pups. We have not seen any
develop a tolerance either to Melatonin. I think if your dog is having
seizures after bedtime it would be a useful to try Melatonin. If your
dog has no change after a couple weeks then
discontinue, but it is worth a try to
combat seizures after bedtime. Not to forget it is a true
cure for restless sleepers - canine and human!
For additional information on the use of melatonin, please click here:
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 215, No.1,
July 1999. "Vet Med Today: Animal Behavior Case of the Month" - Linda
Aronson, DVM, MA; - Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary
Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.
May 2000 issue (Volume 3, Number 5) of The Whole Dog Journal, "Bring in
Da Noise." N.H. Dodman, DVM: Linda Aronson, DVM
Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center