Grants

The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Canine Epilepsy: Determining the Role of Lactobacilli

United States Australian Shepherd Foundation

Epilepsy is the most common nervous system disorder of dogs, affecting up to 0.75% of the canine population. Approximately one-third of dogs with epilepsy fail to achieve adequate seizure control with anti-seizure medication. This study aims to evaluate the role of certain intestinal bacteria in the management of epilepsy in dogs. Alterations

in the population of intestinal bacteria in the Lactobacillus group are believed to play a role in the development and progression of several human diseases of the nervous system. An association between epilepsy and both celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease has been identified in humans, which suggests that changes in intestinal bacteria might also play a role in the progression of epilepsy. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate bacterial populations in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs with epilepsy and compare these to normal dogs. We hypothesize that dogs with epilepsy have alterations in the population of lactobacillus as compared to normal dogs. This study will provide preliminary information on the role of GI tract bacteria in canine epilepsy, and further our understanding to help us develop more successful outcomes for this disorder.

We are recruiting dogs that have been diagnosed with epilepsy but are not currently receiving anti-seizure medication, and that live in a household with another dog that is not epileptic. Owners of dogs enrolled in the study will be instructed to collect a fresh stool sample from their dogs to ship to the investigators. Owners will also be asked to complete a brief questionnaire related to their dog’s environment, diet and health. Dogs will received a fecal exam at no-charge to the owner. All study results will be provided to owners and their family veterinarians.

Researcher

Dr. Karen R. Munana, DVM; North Carolina State University

Progress Report