Investigating a Ketogenic Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Supplement for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy and Its Behavioral Comorbidities
Canine epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition, often requiring lifelong medication with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Despite appropriate treatment with available AEDs, seizure freedom may not always be achievable. Indeed, over two thirds of dogs with epilepsy continue to have seizures long-term and around 20-30% remain poorly controlled on standard AEDs. The hardest to treat dogs are termed ‘refractory’ or ‘drug-resistant’ patients.
There is an urgent need to develop alternative treatments to improve the quality of life (QoL) of drug-resistant patients. The ketogenic diet, originally characterized as high in fat and low in carbohydrates, has been a successful treatment in children with epilepsy for several decades, decreasing seizure activity and even leading to seizure freedom in drug-resistant patients. Recent research has identified that a component of the ketogenic diet, a medium-chain fatty acid (MCT) called C10 has direct anti-seizure effects on the brain.
The investigators will assess whether dietary supplementation with ACT oil containing C10 for dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy will reduce seizure frequency and/or severity. As epilepsy has multiple impacts on QoL beyond seizure frequency, the researchers will also investigate whether the MCT supplement alters the side effect profile of AEDs, improves behavioral problems associated with epilepsy (e.g. anxiety) and cognition, and improves the stress levels of the affected dog. If successful, MCT supplements could provide a new tool for canine epilepsy treatment
Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 02252
Dr. Holger Andreas Volk, DVM, PhD
Royal Veterinary College, University of London