In this section we will attempt to answer some of the questions our readers have submitted to us with respect to spay/neuter, the endocrine system (hormones) and related health issues regarding your best friend. Please use the Contact section of this website to submit your question(s).
Do you have a list of veterinarians who perform hormone sparing sterilization surgeries?
Yes. Please visit our Facebook page for a list of vets who perform such surgeries. Also, you should consult veterinary specialty surgery centers in your area as they often have veterinarians on staff who can provide these procedures.
Is there a connection between seizures and hormones?
Yes, sex hormones can influence the excitability of nerve cells in the brain and thus influence seizure control. Research on humans must guide the treatment for canines. From the Veterinary Journal:
“Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in both humans and dogs. The effect of sex hormones on seizures is well documented in human medicine…estradiol increases seizure activity and progesterone is believed to exhibit a protective effect…No systematic research has been conducted to determine the influence of sex hormones on epilepsy in dogs.”120
However, if your spayed or neutered dog has seizures, please consider the following:
First, have your dog’s thyroid function checked. According to veterinary blood and immune disorder expert Dr. W. Jean Dodds:
“Thyroid dysfunction can precipitate or aggravate existing seizure disorders. The mechanism is unknown, but may relate to the vital role of thyroid hormones in cellular metabolism of the central nervous system. In some cases the seizures are related to thyroid dysfunction and when placed on appropriate thyroid medication the seizures may no longer occur or are reduced in severity or frequency.” (Dr. Dodds is a nationally and internationally recognized veterinary authority on blood and immune disorders, thyroid disease and nutrition. Please note that within the scope of this interview Dr. Dodds explains how your vet can evaluate the results of thyroid tests in the context of epilepsy as it is complicated if your dog is already on anti-seizure medication.)
Next, we would suggest testing for sex hormone levels. In general, there appears to be an over-representation of male dogs with idiopathic epilepsy but no explanation for this difference in prevalence between sexes has been reported.120 We believe that the increasing number of neutered male dogs with high estradiol levels may explain the over-representation of epilepsy in male dogs. Hormone rebalancing for male and female dogs may or may not eliminate the seizures, but it certainly will do no harm.
Lastly, consider traditional anticonvulsant therapy. According to VCA Animal Hospitals regarding seizures:
“Once anticonvulsant medication is started, it must be given for life. There is evidence that, if anticonvulsant medication is started and then discontinued, the dog may have a greater risk of developing more severe seizures in the future. Even normal dogs without a history of seizures or epilepsy may be induced to seizure if placed on anticonvulsant medication and then abruptly withdrawn from it.
“The two most commonly used medications to treat seizures in dogs are phenobarbital and potassium bromide. Research into the use of other anticonvulsants is ongoing, and combination therapy is often used for dogs that are poorly responsive to standard treatments. If anticonvulsant medication must be discontinued or changed for some reason, your veterinarian will give you specific instructions for doing this.”