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Hydrolyzed veterinary diets are prescribed for a variety of health conditions in dogs, formed in the last few years when novel protein diet was not “hypoallergenic” enough for affected dogs. The protein is hydrolyzed, a process of “predigestion” or breakdown that decreases immune-mediated response to absorption of protein’s peptides. Royal Canin’s hydrolyzed diets can be a formula combined with a renal friendly diet, or urinary diet formula, so multiple disease processes are managed with a single prescribed diet. Hydrolyzed protein diets have additional B vitamins and essential fatty acids, especially omega 3’s incl EPA and DHA, to promote healthy cell division and decrease inflammation, a proponent of skin health; but these are not in excess, as excessive B vitamins and fatty acids can cause toxicity symptoms, more common in homemade diets or over-supplementing diet. Some dogs with specific cancer, autoimmune disease, lymphangectasia (inflammatory disease of the lymphatic tissue surrounding GI tract), skin/ear/feet/anal gland allergy are prescribed Hydrolyzed protein diets. Ask if the dog has done well specifically due to its current prescribed diet, or if it is still in a diet trial phase (first 8 weeks on the new diet) so effect is still unknown. Inquire as to other effective or ineffective treatment the dog has tried. Often, hydrolyzed protein diet is utilized after acute symptoms have been treated and controlled with initial glucocorticoids, antibiotics, probiotics, antiemetics etc. A diet is challenged after 8 week trial by single introduction of a whole food ingredient to determine catalysts of symptoms/disease only if the dog is deemed healthy enough to trial and error diet triggers, with emergency treatments on hand if a response is triggered. Most derm vets start with a few grams of apple or carrot, then rice or oatmeal, then a lean meat-derived protein source, one ingredient per week added until note a reaction or immune-mediated response signifying sensitivity or allergy. Many owners elect to maintain status quo and never challenge the diet, as the journey leading up to the hydrolyzed protein diet was difficult and taxing to them and their pet.

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