Medium-chain triglyceride dietary supplementation may help a subpopulation of dogs with epilepsy
Seizures and epilepsy are the most common neurological signs in dogs. The various cellular pathophysiological mechanisms leading to epilepsy, characterized by unprovoked recurrent seizures, remain poorly understood. As a result, the predisposition of having epileptic seizures can only be managed by medication for seizure suppression (antiseizure), instead of the prevention of epilepsy (antiepileptogenic).
However, the chronic administration of antiseizure drugs (ASDs) presents difficulties in the balance between the beneficial seizure‐suppressive effects and undesirable drug‐related adverse effects. Around one‐third of dogs continue to seizure despite appropriate treatment. Seizures, drug‐related adverse effects and changes in behavior contribute to a reduction in quality of life for the dogs and their owners.
Manipulation of nutrition has attracted increasing attention as an alternative. Over 60% of owners change their dog's diet, after being diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy (IE) in an attempt to improve seizure control and protect their dog from ASD‐related adverse effects. The influence of diet on seizure control has been extensively studied in human medicine and rodent epilepsy models, showing antiseizure effects to varying degrees. Similarly, the beneficial effects of diets in dogs with epilepsy have been reported. A dietary trial comparing a medium‐chain triacylglyceride diet resulted in an improvement in seizure control and behavioral problems. Although many owners add oil supplements or change their dogs' diet, it is still unclear MCT oil supplements might possess similar beneficial effects.
This new trial provides additional evidence for the use of medium‐chain triacylglyceride oil as a DS to a stable base diet as a potential therapeutic management option for dogs with epilepsy. Although the overall significant statistical effect was small, some dogs had a good response. The result presented by this study further emphasizes the potential implications of dietary management for canine drug‐resistant epilepsy.
Open Access publication: Journal of Internal Medicine Vol34(3):1248-1259 (2020) A multicenter randomized controlled trial of medium‐chain triglyceride dietary supplementation on epilepsy in dogs. Benjamin A. Berk et al.