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, 4 (1), 193-199

Dietary Intervention for Canine Epilepsy: Two Case Reports


Dietary Intervention for Canine Epilepsy: Two Case Reports

Susan A Masino et al. Epilepsia Open.


Epilepsy is a common neurologic disorder in humans and domesticated canines. In both species the etiology is diverse and complex, and even with medication a significant portion of the population does not experience sufficient seizure control and/or has unacceptable side effects. Humans often try alternatives such as dietary therapy or brain surgery, but in dogs, brain surgery is rarely an option and, despite potential benefits, there are no standard recommendations for a dietary approach. Herein we describe 2 retrospective case studies detailing the effects of homemade diets prepared for dogs with uncontrolled epileptic seizures and/or toxic side effects of medication. Basic recipes are provided for each formula-a high-fat "ketogenic" diet and a partial "whole food" diet. Carbohydrate content was reduced or controlled, and in one case this was proven to be essential for seizure control: ingesting carbohydrates would reverse the benefits of the diet and precipitate a seizure. Both dogs experienced fewer seizures and side effects when eating these modified diets compared to when they were administered antiepileptic drugs, including complete cessation of seizures for extended periods. Practical advantages and success of these homemade dietary interventions highlight the potential for diet-based metabolic therapy as a treatment option for seizures not only in humans but also in dogs.

Keywords: dog; ketogenic diet; ketones; metabolic therapy; nutrition; seizures.

Conflict of interest statement

7Author Beth Zupec‐Kania is the sole proprietor of Ketogenic Therapies, LLC. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. We confirm that we have read the Journal's position on issues involved in ethical publication and affirm that this report is consistent with those guidelines.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Dietary intervention for Case 1. A, Macronutrient content of dietary therapy in a standard meal administered to Case 1 (Bo). Approximately 15% of the fat was MCT. Note that the ratio of fat: (protein + carbohydrate) is approximately 1:1, similar to that for a modified Atkins diet (MAD) prescribed to adult humans. All calculations based on KetoDietCalculator ( B, Measurements of components of the main homemade ketogenic recipe (~1:1 ratio) that was administered to Case 1. Portion sizes would need to be adjusted for an individual dog's daily requirements. C, Case 1, “Bo,” an adult neutered mixed‐breed dog with refractory epilepsy
Figure 2
Figure 2
Dietary intervention for Case 2. A, Macronutrient content of dietary therapy administered to Case 2 (Dante) as compared on an equal caloric basis with an overweight management commercial dog food. Macronutrient content was calculated using a mix of potential components (ie, 25% of each of the 4 potential vegetables) and, unlike Case 1, there was no significant portion of MCTs. Note that the homemade recipe was not higher in fat than the commercial recipe, and that the 2 diets have similar macronutrient content. All calculations based on KetoDietCalculator ( B, Measurements of components of the homemade recipe administered to Case 2. The diet controlled seizures and allowed flexibility in the whole food components. Note that this recipe was provided by the dog's owner, and portions would need to be adjusted for an individual dog's daily requirements. C, Case 2, “Dante,” an adult male neutered husky who had severe side effects when administered seizure medication and experienced complete seizure control when adhering to the diet

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