Clinical Connections  –  Autumn 2019

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological brain disease encountered in first opinion practice for pet dogs. Diet is increasingly recognised as having an impact upon the seizure activity and behaviour in dogs with epilepsy.

Our LifeTIME (Long-term remission medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) epilepsy) study at RVC Small Animal Referrals has been looking at the long-term influence of a medium-chain fatty acid diet in the management of canine idiopathic epilepsy. We are excited to announce that the first dogs have recently completed the year-long study, providing us with valuable data that could have important implications for future developments in the management of epilepsy in dogs.

The LifeTIME trial is a randomised double-blinded prospective dietary trial comparing a standard diet to an MCT-supplemented diet in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. This trial builds on previous findings by the team at the RVC that demonstrated a beneficial effect of this diet, by now evaluating the diet’s longer-term benefits. To achieve this, dogs on the LifeTIME study are followed for 12 months whilst receiving their study diet, which is either the MCT-supplemented trial diet or a standard balanced dog food.

Three dogs have now successfully completed this 12-month study period, with more to follow in the coming months. During the study, their diet was provided at no cost to the owner and all dogs received neurological examinations and routine blood and urine tests every three months. Their progress has been monitored closely through the study period between visits through telephone contact by staff from our Clinical Investigation Centre.

Fudge, who completes the study this December

Joe Fenn, Lecturer in Neurology and Neurosurgery and lead investigator for the LifeTIME study at the RVC, said: “To see the first dogs completing the LifeTIME study is a great milestone for this research. The data obtained over 12 months from each of these dogs could provide us with some exciting information about how diet can make a real difference in the control of seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.”

We are now looking to recruit further dogs on to the LifeTIME study to take part in this exciting opportunity and would encourage anyone with a potentially suitable case to contact us for further information. To take part dogs should be aged between six months and 12 years of age and experience generalised seizures (at least two in the last six months or current treatment period). For this study we are not including dogs that have experienced cluster seizures (more than one seizure in a day) but we can include dogs receiving up to two anti-epileptic medications.

Owners can also be directed to our short online survey at For further information on this trial or to discuss any potentially eligible patients, we would ask colleagues to contact the RVC Clinical Investigation Centre on (01707) 666605 or email

If you would like to discuss a neurology case with the RVC Neurology and Neurosurgery Service, please contact us via the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals reception at

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