Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Medium-chain triglycerides dietary supplement improves cognitive abilities in canine epilepsy


Cognitive impairments (CI) have recently been identified in canine epilepsy patients. A medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) enriched diet has been demonstrated to improve cognition in aged dogs and seizure control in canine epilepsy. This study evaluates the short-term effects of MCT-oil consumption on cognitive abilities in dogs with epilepsy, a naturally occurring animal model.


A 6-month multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled cross-over diet trial was conducted comparing dietary supplementation (DS) of MCT oil to a control oil. Allocation to dietary oil supplements, consisting of 9% total caloric intake, was block-randomized and supplemented into each dogs' diet for 3 months followed by a respective switch of DS-oil for a further 3 months. Noninvasive cognitive tests and a validated psychometric tool were utilized to evaluate cognitive function and perturbations associated with dietary intervention.


Twenty-nine dogs completed the trial, of which 18 completed noninvasive cognitive testing. Spatial-working memory (P = 0.008), problem-solving ability (P = 0.048), and owner-reported trainability (P = 0.041) were significantly improved during MCT-oil supplementation compared to control-DS.


MCT-oil DS improves cognition in dogs with epilepsy when compared to a control-DS. MCT supplementation may represent a promising option to address CI associated with epilepsy.


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