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Investigating owner use of dietary supplements in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy

Berk, B A; Packer, R M A; Law, T H; Volk, H A


B A Berk

R M A Packer

T H Law

H A Volk


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.


Berk, B. A., Packer, R. M. A., Law, T. H., & Volk, H. A. (2018). Investigating owner use of dietary supplements in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. Research in Veterinary Science, 119, 276-284.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2018
Publication Date Jul 24, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 31, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2019
Print ISSN 0034-5288
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 119
Pages 276-284
Public URL