2252: Investigating a Ketogenic Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Supplement for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy and Its Behavioral Comorbidities

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $107,697.06
Holger Andreas Volk, DVM, PhD; Royal Veterinary College, University of London
May 1, 2016 - September 30, 2018
Sponsor(s): Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Inc., Health & Rescue Foundation of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, Irish Wolfhound Club of America, National Beagle Club, Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., St. Bernard Club of America
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Neurology, Epilepsy


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. Indeed, over two thirds of dogs with epilepsy continue to have seizures long-term and around 20-30% remain poorly controlled on standard AEDs. These 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, who may continue to experience unpleasant AED side-effects despite their lack of success. 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. This project investigates 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.

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