02252: Investigating a Ketogenic Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) Supplement for the Treatment of Drug-Resistant Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy and Its Behavioral Comorbidities

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $107,697
Holger Andreas Volk, DVM, PhD; Royal Veterinary College, University of London
May 1, 2016 - September 30, 2019

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: Epilepsy Initiative
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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. 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.


Berk, B. A., Ottka, C., Hong Law, T., Packer, R. M. A., Wessmann, A., Bathen-Nöthen, A., Jokinen, T. S., Knebel, A., Tipold, A., Lohi, H., & Volk, H. A. (2022). Metabolic fingerprinting of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy receiving a ketogenic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.935430

Berk, B. A., Packer, R. M.-A., Fritz, J., & Volk, H. A. (2022). Oral Palatability Testing of a Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil Supplement (MCT) in a Cohort of Healthy Dogs in a Non-Clinical Setting. Animals, 12(13), 1639. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131639

Berk, B. A., Packer, R. M. A., Law, T. H., Wessmann, A., Bathen-Nöthen, A., Jokinen, T. S., Knebel, A., Tipold, A., Pelligand, L., & Volk, H. A. (2020). Medium-chain triglycerides dietary supplement improves cognitive abilities in canine epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107608

Berk, B. A., Law, T. H., Packer, R. M. A., Wessmann, A., Bathen‐Nöthen, A., Jokinen, T. S., Knebel, A., Tipold, A., Pelligand, L., Meads, Z., & Volk, H. A. (2020). A multicenter randomized controlled trial of effect of medium-chain triglyceride dietary supplementation on epilepsy in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.15756

Berk, B. A., Packer, R. M. A., Law, T. H., Wessmann, A., Bathen-Nöthen, A., Jokinen, T. S., … Volk, H. A. (2019). A double-blinded randomised dietary supplement crossover trial design to investigate the short-term influence of medium chain fatty acid (MCT) supplement on canine idiopathic epilepsy: study protocol. BMC Veterinary Research, 15(1), 181. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-019-1915-8

Watson, F., Packer, R. M. A., Rusbridge, C., & Volk, H. A. (2019). Behavioural changes in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Veterinary Record. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.105222

Berk, B. A., Packer, R. M. A., Law, T. H., & Volk, H. A. (2018). Investigating owner use of dietary supplements in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Research in Veterinary Science, 119, 276–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2018.07.004

Packer, R. M. A., Volk, H. A., & Fowkes, R. C. (2017). Physiological reactivity to spontaneously occurring seizure activity in dogs with epilepsy and their carers. Physiology & Behavior, 177, 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.04.008

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