New research published open access in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine has concluded that supplementing diet with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil has the potential to reduce the number of seizures and improve the quality of life for dogs with refractory epilepsy1.New research published open access in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine has concluded that supplementing diet with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil has the potential to reduce the number of seizures and improve the quality of life for dogs with refractory epilepsy1.

The research, which was conducted by a team at the Royal Veterinary College led by Professor Holger Volk and Dr Benjamin Andreas Berk alongside canine behaviour and welfare scientist Dr Rowena Packer, tested the effects of an MCT oil supplement on seizure frequency in dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy.

For the double-blinded study, 28 epileptic dogs received MCT oil for three months and a placebo oil for three months.

The researchers say that overall, dogs had significantly fewer seizures during the MCT phase compared the placebo phase, and an improved owner-reported quality of life. New therapies are urgently needed to improve the quality of life of affected dogs and their owners and the results of this study offer a promising addition to other methods commonly used to treat canine epilepsy.

Dr Rowena Packer, BBSRC Research Fellow at the Royal Veterinary College, said: “Epilepsy is often a challenging and distressing condition for dog owners to manage, particularly when dogs don’t respond to anti-seizure medications in the way their owner and vet might have expected or hoped. Historically, diet has not been considered a key part of epilepsy management, but along with other recent findings, these results indicate that nutrition likely plays an important role in seizure control.

"Our novel findings indicate that a relatively small change to the diet of dogs’ with hard-to-treat epilepsy can potentially reduce the number of seizures they have, while also improving their medication side effects and overall quality of life. MCT oil offers a promising addition to the wider epilepsy management tool-kit."

Reference

  • Berk BA, Law TH, Packer RMA, et al. A multicenter randomized controlled trial of medium-chain triglyceride dietary supplementation on epilepsy in dogs. J VetIntern Med. 2020;1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.1575612 BERK ET AL. The full paper is open access and is available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jvim.15756

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