Investigating owner use of dietary supplements in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy

Berk, B A and Packer, R M A and Law, T H and Volk, H A (2018) Investigating owner use of dietary supplements in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. RESEARCH IN VETERINARY SCIENCE, 119. pp. 276-284.

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Abstract

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in dogs. Some diets have been shown to have a positive impact upon the seizure activity in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy (IE), while other diets and dietary supplements (DS), although marketed as providing health benefits, lack conclusive scientific evidence on their actual beneficial effects. A web-based owner questionnaire was designed to assess how and why owners of dogs with IE use different dietary regimes and DS. The study cohort, with 297 valid responses, consisted mainly of pure-breed (82.5%) male neutered (52.9%) dogs. Over two-thirds of owners (67.7%) changed their dog's diet after their dog received a diagnosis of IE. Nearly half of the owners (45.8%) reported giving DS, the most common being coconut oil or derived medium-chain triglyceride oil (71.3%). Some owner justifications of DS use included improvement of seizure frequency (88.2%), seizure severity (61.8%) and protection from potential drug side effects (62.5%). Many owners give DS to their dog with IE. The pharmacokinetic properties of anti-epileptic drugs, such as efficacy, absorption and clearance can be influenced by other medications, diets and possibly by DS. We propose that use of DS should be considered and monitored by veterinary surgeons in epilepsy management.