A breakthrough that could help manage canine epilepsy by reducing seizures has been described by an RVC scientist involved in the research as “the most exciting thing I have done in my career”.

Holger Volk
Professor Volk was inspired to explore the effects of diet on epilepsy after breeders and owners claimed the food they gave their epileptic dogs influenced the control of their seizures.

Research from the RVC canine epilepsy clinic, which identified neurological therapeutic nutrition as a way of helping manage epilepsy, has “given hope” to thousands of patients – particularly those that do not respond to traditional treatment, said neurology and neurosurgery specialist Holger Volk.

“Canine epilepsy is a complex condition and can be very distressing for the dog and its owner,” said Prof Volk, who is head of the department of clinical science and services at the RVC.

Anecdotal evidence

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have traditionally been used to treat the chronic neurological condition in dogs, but consistent remission can be difficult to attain via this method. Therefore, Prof Volk said, it is vital to keep developing new management options to improve seizure control and patients’ quality of life, and hand control back to owners.

Prof Volk was inspired to explore the effects of diet on epilepsy after collating anecdotal evidence from breeders and owners who said they thought the food they gave their epileptic dogs influenced the control of their seizures.

A six-month randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded crossover study was conducted in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy receiving AEDs. It demonstrated a test diet with medium-chain triglycerides oil can have positive effects on reduction of seizure frequency when fed as an adjunct to veterinary therapy.

Seizure reduction

The findings revealed 71% of dogs showed a reduction in seizure frequency, 48% showed a 50% or greater reduction in seizure frequency and 14% achieved complete seizure freedom.

Prof Volk said: “This is the most exciting thing I have done in my career. This approach gives you another weapon in the arsenal against epilepsy.”

The research, which was carried out in partnership with Nestlé Purina, provided the basis for the development of the first diet to help nutritionally manage dogs with idiopathic epilepsy as an adjunct to veterinary therapy.

  • Read the full story in the 20 February issue of Veterinary Times.
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8 Comments on "Study gives ‘new hope’ to epilepsy dogs, says prof"

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Adam Heeley
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Adam Heeley
4 months 9 days ago

Is this discussing a new study, or the 2015 paper “A randomised trial of a medium-chain TAG diet as treatment for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy” published by Law et al., in which Holger Volk was a co-author?

Vet Times
Admin
4 months 9 days ago

Yes, it is in regard to this study. Please see this week’s Veterinary Times for further details.

Elena
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Elena
4 months 9 days ago

Where do I access this week veterinary Times?

Vet Times
Admin
4 months 9 days ago

Veterinary Times is distributed by name to eligible UK-based veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. For subscription queries, email vetfile@vbd.co.uk or call 01733 383539.

Debbie Lauzon
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4 months 8 days ago

In my case, my beagle absolutely cannot have chemical found in flea collars or [brand name removed by admin] for flea and ticks and heartworm. One time me she got into a moldy sandwich my special needs son had hidden and she seizured so bad I thought we might lose her. The dye in [brand name removed by admin] bones also seems to be a catalyst. By being careful she is down to 1-2 seizures pure year (mild) from once a month. She has never had meds.

Allegra Martin
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Allegra Martin
4 months 1 day ago

There was a article on Facebook about dogs eating mouldy bread, pasta, etc. apparently it nearly killed both her dogs neither of which had epilepsy. My Norfolk developed epilepsy after a bad RTA, it is just coming under control with drugs and Valerian, but too early to take her off them. She was only one at the time.

Lenore
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Lenore
4 months 8 days ago

We are trying an all natural program I developed which seems to be controlling our dogs seizures. We got him from 3 big seizures every 10- 12 days down to 1 small seizure every 36 – 49 days and it is still doing well. We just started it in October 2016 and he has only had 3 small seizures since. The 3 small seizures he did have were triggered by Swiffer wet mop and starting the wood stove. I cut those out and now we are on day 49 without a seizure.

Hannes
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Hannes
4 months 6 days ago
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