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
BACKGROUND:Epilepsy is the most common brain disease in dogs. Recently, diets have been reported to have a positive impact on seizure activity and behaviour in various species including dogs with idiopathic epilepsy (IE). Historically, classic high fat ketogenic diets (KD) and medium chain triglycerides (MCT) KD have been successfully used to manage drug-resistant epilepsy. Similarly, an MCT enriched diet has been shown to improve seizure control and behavioural comorbidities in some dogs with IE. However, it is unknown whether an MCT dietary supplement (DS) may provide similar positive effects. METHODS:A 6-month prospective, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover, multicentre dietary trial is designed comparing a 9% metabolic energy based calculated medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil supplement to a conventional 'control' DS. Only dogs which will have an International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force Tier II level like diagnosis of IE which satisfied the following inclusion criteria are included: age between 6 months and ≤ 12 years; weighing between 4 and ≤ 65 kg; unremarkable interictal neurological examinations; no clinically significant findings on routine laboratory diagnostics; unremarkable brain MRI scan; have had at least 3 seizures in the previous 3 months prior to enrolment; treated with at least one ASD and being classified as resistant. All dogs are fed initially for 90 ± 2 days with either the control oil or the MCT oil alongside their normal diet, followed by 97 ± 2 days with the other supplement including a 7-day washout period. Overall, the aim is to recruit thirty-six patients at five different centres and to investigate the effect of MCTs as DS on seizure activity, tolerability, behavioural comorbidities and quality of life (QoL). DISCUSSION:Dietary interventions are rarely studied in a standardised form in veterinary medicine. The background diet, the cohort of animals and ASD received is standardised in this prospective diet trial to ensure representative data about the potential effect of MCT DS. If the study data confirms former findings, this would provide further evidence for the efficacy of MCTs as a management option for canine epilepsy. This publication should offer a repository of trial conditions and variable description with forecasted statistical analysis.