02561: Is Gut Dysbiosis Associated with Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy?

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $104,453
Karen R. Muñana, DVM, MS; North Carolina State University
February 1, 2019 - January 31, 2022
Sponsor(s): Irish Setter Club of America Foundation, Inc.
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Epilepsy

Abstract

Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common chronic nervous system disorder of dogs. Its cause is poorly understood, but is believed to involve genetic and environmental factors. Treatment with anti-seizure drugs remains the standard of care. However, approximately one-third of dogs fail to achieve satisfactory seizure control, highlighting the need to investigate factors that may influence disease course. An association between epilepsy and inflammatory gastrointestinal disease is well documented in humans, and several other nervous system disorders have been linked to alterations in gut microbial populations, with considerable attention focused on the bacteria Helicobacter and Lactobacilli. The aim of this study is to determine whether dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have shifts in the gastrointestinal environment that may influence disease course. The researchers hypothesize that dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have alterations in the gut microbial population - characterized by the presence of Helicobacter, a decrease in Lactobacillus, and resulting inflammation - that are associated with epilepsy development and outcome. The investigators will collect and study paired fecal samples from untreated and phenobarbital treated epileptic dogs and including an unaffected dog from the same household. The occurrence of Helicobacter and Lactobacillus species will be analyzed using molecular genetic techniques and specific biomarkers of inflammation and evaluated for associations with disease onset and outcome. In exploring the association between the gut microbial population and canine epilepsy, this study has the potential to improve our understanding of epilepsy, and ultimately guide the development of more effective therapies for this disorder.

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