I have an 11 yr. old American Eskimo with chronic acute pancreatitis. I’m beyond worried now as he is consistently losing more weight. He should be around 21 lbs and he is now at 15 lbs.
We have struggled with his condition for years and at this point I have no faith in what the vet recommends. I stumbled across this site this morning while researching solutions for my other dog – a very itchy mixed breed (I’ll deal with that is a separate post). There seems to be a lot of well informed people here and I am hoping someone may be able to help me.
After a severe attack several years ago, a full work up (labs, x-rays … the works) the vet informed me that his intestinal and stomach lining are “thicker than normal” and that it was likely a birth defect.
With that diagnosis, he was put on Hills Science WD canned formula. (Cerenia was also prescribed to treat the acute attacks.) We’ve tried other “vet recommended” foods but always end up back with the WD formula because he seems to tolerate it the best. I’ve even spoken with Hill’s Science “dieticians” but they are ALL CLUELESS (including the vet) as to what else might work better. The vet & dietician have always advised that hi-fat content is what will usually triggers the attacks but that is all they can tell me. They have never recommended grain-free or organic – or addressed potential food allergies as an aggravator.
All of his routine check-ups & labs show him to be otherwise healthy. His poop is usually normal. (However, we do have a poop eating problem and I sometimes wonder if it’s because he is SOOO hungry because he’s not getting enough nutrition.)
His attacks are episodic. Sometimes he is fine for weeks – other times we may have a couple of attacks in a week. His typical symptoms include any combination of: gurgling tummy, vomiting (sometimes bile, other times completely undigested food), abdominal pain (he won’t lie down for hours – I’ve had to hold him so he could sleep), and refusal to eat. On a rare occasions he’s had diarrhea and I’ve had to take him to the vet for an IV due to dehydration several times over the years.
Any help, advice, or recommendations that will help me get some weight back on him and help with the pancreatitis would be greatly appreciated.
I’m sorry about your dog. I think her issues are well beyond what anyone here can advise on. The only thought I have is that the steroids that vets give for food allergy/ intolerance issues have the known possibility of causing pancreatitis. You will probably have to go to a homemade food to help your pup, but I wouldn’t even come close to attempting that with her without the help of a veterinary nutritionist or a holistic vet that has really studied nutrition. If I were you I would definitely find a holistic vet, because they try to get to the root of problems instead of just treating the symptoms.
I’m not a vet or professional, but it sounds like IBD or something like that to me. If it were my dog I would find a good limited ingredient diet with a protein other than chicken or even other than any poultry. I would give the dog a good probiotic/enzyme supplement along with the diet. This site has a list of hypoallergenic foods. I’d look for the one with the lowest to most moderate fat percentage. Also, canned foods are good or even freeze dried (like The Honest Kitchen) if you want to go that route….or to add to the kibble. There are also other people on this site with way more knowledge than me that I’m sure will respond soon to help you, so please keep checking back.
I think it’s important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, so you are doing the right thing, but also as Patty said, very important to find a vet and/or nutrititionist. One that is at least willing to research and consult if not already knowledgeable about your dog’s condition him/her self. Your own knowledge combined with a good vet’s guidance can be very powerful stuff.
Your dog sounds like it’s near emaciated (about 30% underweight) and probably your suspicions are correct-slowly starving for nutrition. Also the Hill’s W/D is also very low in protein (17.9% dry matter average). I also think that your best bet can be with homemade meals-but only with the the help and knowledge that is very necessary.
There are many things believed to cause pancreatitis, hereditary predisposition, ingestion of any atypical meal-usually high fat is implied, gallstones or other obstruction in bile duct or pancreatic duct, hyperlipidemia, hypercalcemia, some medicines such as steroids, antibiotics, and immune suppressants, hyperthyroidism, trauma, etc. Each bout with pancreatitis might damage the pancreas further and limits even more the ability to produce digestive enzymes and maybe insulin also.
Again it’s very important to seek professional help, but it’s possible that your dog is one that is actually in dire need of digestive enzymes to survive and thrive. Has your vet ever discussed this or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency? If EPI is the case, he might need the “big guns” pancreatin (porcine or bovine based), rather than less potent or less efficient OTC plant based enzymes. The prescription enzymes can be quite expensive-middlemen, etc. but they are highly standardized and more tightly controlled. If you and your vet find your dog does need these, enzymediane cuts the middleman and I think are comparable to the prescription ones, albeit maybe not as tightly controlled, but MUCH cheaper. It’s saved lives for many that couldn’t afford the prescriptions. My new friend’s GS I think is one of those.
a very good site on canine exocrine pancreatic deficiency.
Hope this helps and wishing you and your dogs the best.
Losul just gave you some GREAT advice. Just went thru this with one of our deaf rescue dogs. I fed him some raw organ mix from http://www.greentripe.com, and we had a normal poop for the first time in months. Off to the vet to confirm by labs, and we knew we had a case of EPI.
He’s now back to high quality kibble easily available at the store with a bit of canned mixed in for taste. With a half tablespoon of added pancreatic supplement, let it sit for 25 min, and he snarfs it up.
After just a few weeks, he’s almost back to normal weight, no poop-eating, no counter surfing for food.
I have done the research. EnzymeDiane is the cheapest place to find the supplement, by far. You can also add raw pancreas to his kibble, available at http://www.greentripe.com.
My name is Ana I am the owner of a small pet nutrition consulting business called Pupcat Nutrition Consulting I am a pet nutrition expert/advisor. Dogs with pancreatitis have very fragile immune systems, avoid high protein and high fat diets, feed small frequent meals through out the day, and less or no processed diets and avoid dry foods and rotation. The next thing PLEASE STOP feeding science diet it’s killing your dog! Here are some suggestions: lean meats,(bison,chicken,turkey) low fat treats, try senior formulas they have less fat and less protein. Here are some awesome brands that will transform your pup forever!! ok , your best bet would be dehydrated raw, I recommend Honest kitchen preference or all except thrive mix with canned for extra moisture and flavor try senior formula canned like merrick , and natural balance(try to stick with 4% fat or less) avoid grocery store pet foods. and it would be beneficial to add a probiotic/prebiotic to aid digestion, like PROZYMES is a really good one I like. and remember there is a transition period when switching foods (7-10 days) for more info on honest kitchen go to thehonestkitchen.com and for more real nutrition facts follow me on twitter @pupcatfacts and on facebook or at pupcatnutrition.com
You do know that a canned food with 4% fat is equivalent to a dry food that is 20% fat, right?
Thanks, Patty. I didn’t realize that. He is getting a couple of tablespoons mixed in for taste/smell. I think that maybe the enzyme supplement has a sour taste. He only ate a partial meal without the addition of the canned food. It’s working and packing meat on his bones really fast.
Enzymes do have a funny back of the throat acid bile taste to them that to me is reminiscent of vomit, so I can certainly understand needing something to disguise it. Just be careful about how much you use. If you aren’t going to use up a can within 3 days of opening it, then it’s a good idea to freeze some of it in ice cube trays so you only have to defrost what you need.
Perfect description…that’s pretty much what it smells like, too!
It depends on the amount if it’s used as a topper in moderation it’s ok, remember in canned form every thing seems different because canned food is mostly all moisture. moderation, moderation is the key.
If a dog has pancreatitis that is chronic, there is no such thing as its “okay in moderation” when its a high fat food. Typically vets recc under 12percent fat for the dry products, and one should convert canned into a dry matter basis in order to properly assess how much fat is in that particular canned brand, If its 20 percent, its 20 percent fat whether you feed a teaspoon or tablespoon. In dogs with low tolerance a teaspoon of a high fat food could send them into over load.
Also, please state for reference where you garnered the information that dogs with pancreatitis should be on a restricted protein diet? Owning pancreatitis prone breeds for over 20 yrs, I have yet to see such information, and have yet to restrict protein in a dog based on pancreatitis(which is typically brought on by fat, not protein).
Your dogs sounds like he has IBD/Colitis more so than Pancreatitis. He has all the same issues that my dobergal has had over the years.
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