MELATONIN
by
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 it.

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 disorders.

"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 Aronson)

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?
TECHNICAL EXPLANATION:
"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:
MELATONIN


REFERENCES:
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

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