Raw Fed Dog Diagnosed With Rickets!

Dog Food Advisor Forums Raw Dog Food Raw Fed Dog Diagnosed With Rickets!

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  • #89625 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    I’m a newbie to these forums, but am no novice to raw feeding – been doing raw in some form, either 100% or as a supplement for about 15yrs now. Since 2014, its been an all raw, prey model type diet consisting mostly of chicken quarters pork meat and neck bones, a variety of organ meats (but mostly beef liver), ground beef, egg yolks, turkey necks and occasional meats like lamb ribs, fish or ground turkey. They also get “extras” and leftovers that amount to a small portion of the diet.

    That aside, I’ve been noticing all summer that Toby, an intact male Beagle who will be 11yrs in October, hasn’t seemed in the greatest health, but there was nothing specific I could point my finger at, so I chalked it up to age. Fleas have been plaguing him, which made me further suspect something was wrong, especially after treatment did very little to help.

    Over the past few days, the fleas have been back with a vengeance untold, and this morning, out of the blue, Toby came back in from the yard, lay down in a corner, and wouldn’t get up. There were no other symptoms, just a sudden lameness that seemed to pass in a few minutes. But it was very worrying, and he seems to have lost some weight in the past few days, so I decided it was Vet time. That, and in May, he had a partial obstruction from a pork neck bone, and the Vet told me then the only abnormality of the blood test results was “elevated liver enzymes”. So of course, my first thought is possible liver failure going on here :/

    It was no fun finding a Vet on Labor Day, let me tell you, but we seemed to get a competent one, for once. I did NOT mention Toby is raw fed, btw. Another CBC was done, and like before, everything came back smack in the middle of normal – except, his ALP levels (alkaline phosphatase) were once again high (@ 228). But with no other signs of liver abnormalities in the blood results, this Vet was as stumped as the first one was as to why it should be elevated, unless it was osteomalacia, which he said was odd in a dog Toby’s age.

    When I asked what precisely that was, the Vet told me I already knew it by a more common name. Rickets. Or rather, it’s technically called rickets before the growth plates close, and osteomalacia is the adult version.

    I may have emitted an expletive, because how else can a dog get rickets, save for a home made diet that has been lacking in Vitamin D? I haven’t had the greatest luck with Vets in my life, but I was grateful that when I did mention raw feeding, all I got was the Knowing Look, an admonition that Toby would not be the first raw fed dog he’d seen with rickets (!!!), and a prescription for Vitamin D tablets for dogs. He did not try to push kibble on me or say another word about raw… he didn’t need to 🙁

    Don’t have the faintest idea where we’re going from here, but Toby is on his Vit D and does not seem to be holding the incident against me. I’ve had my stumbling blocks with raw in the past, which is why I usually limited it to supplementation, but this has to be the worst problem I’ve ever had diagnosed. And honestly, if not for the strain put on his health with the fleas, I would never have noticed anything out of the ordinary with this dog. He seemed perfectly healthy otherwise.

    So. Just blowing off some steam at the day’s events, my own stupidity, and thought this might be interesting fodder for other raw feeders. And btw, I am told that bad teeth can be a dead giveaway symptom of rickets, as well, and yet, Toby has the best teeth out of everybody…

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  HoundMusic.
    #89628 Report Abuse

    crazy4cats
    Member

    Hi HoundMusic-

    Thank you for sharing. Your story could be helpful to other raw/homemade feeders. Of course he decided to show symptoms on a Holiday! That’s what they do. Lol!

    I’ve not heard of dogs with this issue before. I hope your Toby makes a full recovery!

    #89649 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Poor Toby. He’s 11? Wow. hey, can I call you by your first name here? Seems weird to say HoundMusic LOL

    #89657 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    Poor Toby. He’s 11? Wow. hey, can I call you by your first name here? Seems weird to say HoundMusic LOL

    Of all the things imaginable… ugh.

    Toby will be 11 in October – he’s a full littermate to Friar Tuck and out of my first litter, if you can believe that 🙂 He seems to be none the worse for wear, tho, it’s just me that got the shock.

    If we can’t be on a first name basis after all these years (lol) then IDK what this world is coming to.

    #89658 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    Thank you for sharing. Your story could be helpful to other raw/homemade feeders. Of course he decided to show symptoms on a Holiday! That’s what they do. Lol!

    Ha! It’s a tradition in my household that dogs will get sick, specifically on Labor Day. My first Beagle, and two others aside from Toby, all needed emergency Vet treatment on that holiday. Not even joking.

    But in all seriousness, you could have knocked me over with the ghost of a feather when the Vet said rickets. I am no raw novice and thought myself more Vit. D conscientious than that. I give raw yolks and butter along with bones specifically for the Vit. D content, and still, this happened, so I am hoping other raw feeders will read this and double check their diet plans…

    ETA: Also wanted to add that I was giving cod liver oil way back when I began raw feeding, and it seems I’ll have to start doing that again, if my other sources aren’t providing enough.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  HoundMusic.
    #89661 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Chris,
    Some people here don’t use first names so figured I’d ask. Boone will be 11 in Jnuary! Ginger the Brittany was 6 in July and O’Malley the Longhaired whippet was a year last week! Are you on fb yet?

    #89684 Report Abuse

    Susan
    Member

    Hi, do you follow Rodney Habib, Pet Nutrition Blogger on his Face Book page? he had a post about Rickets the begin of the year, he recommends adding tin sardines in spring water or oil to Raw/Cooked diet… https://www.facebook.com/rodneyhabib/?pnref=story
    Sardines are suppose to be excellent & have vitamin D, B-6, A, C, B, Calcium, Omega 3 for skin, Magnesium, Iron…. & they’re cheap 69c a tin…Garlic is excellent to get rid of fleas, add some to diet, I live Australia & Garlic is added to most of our kibbles….. I hope Toby is feeling better soon…

    #89710 Report Abuse

    Spy Car
    Member

    If you’ve been feeding Prey Model Raw levels of liver (5%) I’d suspect the cause of the Osteomalacia was due to an imbalance in calcium to phosphorus levels in the diet, as opposed to insufficient Vitamin D.

    Feeding 10% bone (as the PRM calls for) should keep Ca:P near the optimal 1.2:1 ratio. Unfortunately too many raw feeders are contemptuous of the need to maintain the correct mineral balance by carefully considering the amount of meat vs bones (and organs) are being fed, and too often too much bone gets fed as a result. Too little bone (relative to meat) can also be a problem with Osteomalacia.

    I’d advise doubling down on your understanding of the edible bone content in the ingredients you are feeding with a determined effort put into balancing the calcium:phorosphus ratios in the diet, as this is the likely source of the problem.

    Bill

    #89715 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    If you’ve been feeding Prey Model Raw levels of liver (5%) I’d suspect the cause of the Osteomalacia was due to an imbalance in calcium to phosphorus levels in the diet, as opposed to insufficient Vitamin D.

    There is no doubt about what mineral imbalances are present, because the blood chemistry panel tests for everything. Both his levels of calcium & phosphorous were normal (Ca 9.2 & Phos 4.1), while he displayed no signs whatsoever of liver problems, which is what low ALP usually indicates. So by process of elimination, it was determined that his vitamin D levels were lacking. I have no reason to disbelieve the Vet, and my own research is only confirming what he told me.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  HoundMusic.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  HoundMusic.
    #89847 Report Abuse

    Ritchy
    Member

    HoundMusic – I’d like to say thank you for your post. I am really new to raw, so this is very helpful.

    …I’ve got to figure out how to update my avatar with my dogs image 🙂

    #89889 Report Abuse

    Spy Car
    Member

    There is no doubt about what mineral imbalances are present, because the blood chemistry panel tests for everything. Both his levels of calcium & phosphorous were normal (Ca 9.2 & Phos 4.1), while he displayed no signs whatsoever of liver problems, which is what low ALP usually indicates. So by process of elimination, it was determined that his vitamin D levels were lacking. I have no reason to disbelieve the Vet, and my own research is only confirming what he told me.

    ********

    Have you been feeding PMR levels of liver (5%)? If so, did your vet offer an explanation of how your dog might have a Vitamin D deficiency?

    I wonder (and don’t know) over what period of time a blood test establishes a proper calcium-phosphorus balance? Is it a snap-shot in time (and variable in reflecting recent meals, or does it show a longer term value?

    Fellow raw feeders should be aware that osteomalacia can be brought on not only by Vitamin D deficiencies, but also by calcium-phosphorus imbalances due to feeding the improper ratios of meat, bones, and organs.

    Best wishes with your dog.

    Bill

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Spy Car.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by  Spy Car.
    #89929 Report Abuse

    HoundMusic
    Member

    Have you been feeding PMR levels of liver (5%)? If so, did your vet offer an explanation of how your dog might have a Vitamin D deficiency?

    They get at least 5% organ meats, if not slightly more, and most of that is beef liver. I also feed egg yolks for Vit D., and occasionally give unsalted butter for that, iodine & Omega 3.

    The raw, prey model diet, however, does not take into account daily nutritional requirements of dogs, but utilizes a “balance over time” method – so if any deficiency was present, balancing a diet over time and not on a daily basis would likely contribute to the already low levels of Vit. D, which, if allowed to continue with Toby not meeting the requirement for his vitamins on a daily basis, would eventually lead to osteomalacia. My Vet did not have to offer that explanation. I think it’s obvious.

    #90022 Report Abuse

    Spy Car
    Member

    PMR calls for 10% secreting organs (half of that being liver). Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it is stored in the body and need not be supplied in the same levels daily.

    Personally, I feed 10% organs daily with one day being liver and the alternate day being kidney, pancreas, spleen, or other to avoid getting “behind,” which “balance over time” (a preference of some raw feeders, but not an intrinsic part of PRM) practices can lead to if people don’t actually keep organs in the weekly diet.

    I’m still not seeing that it is obvious how Vitamin D levels were critically low if Toby was getting PMR levels of liver, plus eggs and other Vitamin D sources on a fairly regular basis.

    Bill

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