Seizure disorders generally occur in about 1 to 2% of dogs, but the incidence in certain breeds can be as high as 15 to 20%. A seizure is a reproducible change in behavior which represents a paroxysmal, uncontrolled, transient electric discharge from the neurons in the brain (Clemmons, 1997). Seizures disorders may be categorized as idiopathic epilepsy, acquired epilepsy or active seizure disease.
Inherited (idiopathic) epilepsy, which is due to an inborn biochemical defect of neurons, is related to Kidney Jing Deficiency causing Wind. Acquired epilepsy, which is due to the presence of an old injury, is related to Stagnation causing Wind. In both cases, the epilepsy leads to abnormal electrical activities in the brain. Of these, idiopathic epilepsy is a common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs.
Epilepsy represents a seizure disorder where the seizure is the disease and treating the seizure treats the disease. Alternatively, active seizure disease is defined as a seizure disorder where the seizure represents only one symptom or manifestation of the true disease process (i.e. metabolic disorders, infections, neoplasia, toxicities, and various systemic diseases). In this case, treating the seizure only treats the symptom, not the disease; thus, one must ascertain and treat the underlying pathologic condition to heal the patient.
In TCVM, "seizure" is called Chou-feng and "epilepsy" is called Xian Zheng. Both seizures and epilepsy belong to internal wind syndromes. Su Wen (General Questions) contains some of the earliest written discussions on epilepsy:
Why epilepsy occurs...Its etiology traces back to the fetus in the mother's uterus. When the mother was frightened/scared, her Qi flowed up but was unable to descend. Qi and Jing stayed together (Jing was consumed); consequently, her child would have epilepsy.
This suggested that epilepsy could be inherited. Later TCM practitioners found that epilepsy is related to phlegm, stagnation, and disharmony of Zang Qi. Generally, epilepsy can be divided into the following six Patterns:
Obstruction by Wind-Phlegm H2410 Ding Xian Wan
Internal Profusion of Phlegm-Fire H2412 Di Tan Tang and E3907 Long Dan Xie Gan
Stagnation of Blood H2412 Di Tan Tang and B3315 Tao Hong Si Wu
Liver Blood Deficiency A3320 Bu Xue Xi Feng
Liver/Kidney Yin Deficiency A3325 Yang Yin Xi Feng
Kidney Jing Deficiency A0190 Epimedium Powder
Western Medical Indications:
Cough with yellow phlegm
Internal Wind due to Wind-Phlegm with Heat
Loss of consciousness
Screaming and foaming at the mouth
Wood personality (agitated, irritable)
Tongue: Red or purple, greasy coating
Caution during pregnancy
Dosage for Horse:
15 g twice daily as top dressing on feed
Dosage for Dog/Cat:
0.5 g per 10 to 20 lb body weight twice daily
Use as needed up to 6 months
Chinese Principles of Treatment:
Transform phlegm, clear Internal Wind and stop seizure
Di Tan Tang from Ji Sheng Fang (Formulas from Aid the Living) by Yan Yong-He, 1253.
Chen Pi-Citrus, Dan Nan Xing-Arisaema, Fu Ling-Poria, Gan Cao-Glycyrrhiza, Gan Jiang-Zingiberis, Gou Teng-Uncaria,
Hai Zao-Sargassum, Kun Bu-Laminaria, Ren Shen(Kirin)-Ginseng, Shi Jue Ming-Haliotis, Shi Chang Pu-Acorus,
Zhi Shi-Aurantium, Zhu Ru-Bambusa