Canine epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition, often requiring lifelong medication with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Despite appropriate treatment with available AEDs, seizure freedom may not always be achievable. There is an urgent need to develop alternative treatments to improve the quality of life (QoL) of drug-resistant patients, who may continue to experience unpleasant AED side- effects despite their lack of success.
The project did investigate whether supplementing the diet of dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy with an MCT oil containing C10 will reduce seizure frequency and/or severity. As epilepsy has multiple impacts on QoL beyond seizure frequency, we also investigated whether the MCT supplement altered the side effect profile of AEDs the patient is already receiving, improves any behavioural problems associated with epilepsy (e.g. anxiety), cognition and improves the stress levels of the affected dog and their owner. The study showed that some dogs respond very well to MCT supplementation. Two dogs were free of seizures, 3 had ≥50% and 12 had <50% reductions in seizure frequency, and 11 dogs showed no change or an increase in seizure frequency.
These data show antiseizure properties of an MCT-DS compared to a control oil and support former evidence for the efficacy of MCTs as a nutritive management option for a subpopulation of drug-resistant dogs with epilepsy. It appears that a subgroup of dogs responds better to MCTs than the whole population. We could also show that by supplementing the diet with MCT oil multiple drug side effects such as ataxia and sedation and cognition did improve.
We have also identified interesting neurotransmitter changes in the urine showing that certain neurotransmitter might play a role in improving seizure control in dogs fed MCT. The untargeted metabonomics did not yield an interesting hit, but we could show by using a different targeted metabonomics approach that MCT result in a change in fat metabolism providing a different energy source, which was directly linked to seizure control.