Research Update from Dr. Volk for supplemental treatment of epilepsy.
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. 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 will 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 will also investigate whether the MCT supplement alters the side effect profile of AEDs the patient is already receiving, improves any behavioral problems associated with epilepsy (e.g. anxiety), cognition and improves the stress levels of the affected dog and their owner. We have made good progress after we have identified oils which have a good palatability.
We have received full ethical approval, have recruited staff on the trial, have standardized and established all the additional cognitive, behavioral, blood and gait tests in the lab currently have good case recruitment numbers. While previously there was some delay in recruitment we have now finished the recruitment with the last patient completing the trial in February 2018. We were able to show that by supplementing the diet with MCT oil, seizure frequency can be reduced significantly and multiple behaviors including cognition could be improved. We have identified interesting neurotransmitter changes in the urine showing that GABA might play a role in improving seizure control in dogs fed MCT. The untargeted metabonomics did not yield an interesting hit, but we have now just finished a targeted metabonomics run and are analyzing the results.