Research finds potential in new dietary treatment for canine epilepsy

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canine epilepsy treatment
MCT oil

Research conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) shows that small changes to the diets of dogs with hard-to-treat epilepsy has the potential to reduce the number of seizures and improve the quality of life for affected dogs and their owners.

Epilepsy is the most common long-term neurological condition in dogs and can be very distressing for both dogs and their owners. Current treatments focus on managing the condition and reducing how often seizures occur. However, despite treatment with appropriate anti-seizure medication, approximately one-third of dogs continue to experience frequent seizures. This has significant impacts on their behaviour and cognitive functions and can also make dogs prone to anxiety.

Helping develop new treatment strategies to reduce epileptic seizures and improve the overall welfare of dogs, a team of researchers at the RVC tested the effects of an oil supplement on seizure frequency in dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Previous research by the RVC had shown that the oil, which contains a specific type of fat known as medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, could have beneficial effects when included within a dry kibble diet.

During this study—published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine—the oil was added as a supplement to a dog’s existing diet to determine if the same benefits could be achieved. The oil was tested in a rigorous clinical trial during which 28 dogs received the MCT oil for three months and a placebo oil for three months. Both owners and investigators were blind to which oil dogs were receiving during each phase.

Overall, dogs had significantly fewer seizures during the MCT phase compared the placebo phase, and an improved owner-reported quality of life.

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