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I just read your post – I’m so sorry, I know it is anxiety producing to find a lump on your dog!! Here’s what I know, hopefully it will make you feel better until you can get to the vet…I’ve had Golden Retrievers in the past who developed fatty tumors (lipomas) as they got older. That was back in the days before I was feeding homemade & raw. The vet would always say that its nothing to worry about, it was common for the breed and as long as it didn’t bother the dog leave it alone. Back then, that’s what I did – and I can honestly say that those dogs lived long happy lives & for the most part I don’t think the lipomas ever really bothered them and certainly didn’t interfere with their quality of life. Then about 4 years ago, I had 2 Golden Retriever puppies – and 1 of them developed a lump that was BIG. And he was young. My initial thought was, “well, he’s a Golden & they are prone to these things”. But it just felt really wrong to me in such a young dog – and sure enough, when the vet did a needle biopsy on him, the result was different, this time it was not fatty, but was blood filled – called a sarcoma. Turns out this dog had a really weak immune system, and the lump was right at the injection site where he had his latest vaccines. The good news is, we caught it early and it alerted me to a bigger issue – his immune system. That’s when I changed diet, vaccines, etc. When you go to the vet, you’ll know more – it may be just another fatty bump, but the location seems to indicate that maybe its related to the vaccine or the chip implant. His body may be responding to the foreign “stuff” that was injected, and the bump may resolve as his body recovers and assimilates it. But if it’s a reaction, that’s something to pay attention to – most dogs don’t get a reaction, so you may want to look into why yours did this time. Maybe it’s a fluke, or maybe there are ingredients in the vaccine that your dog doesn’t tolerate well. That was the case for my dog. But there’re some things that I’ve discovered along the way – first, not all dogs can tolerate the “one size fits all” vaccine protocol. And there are alternatives, such as titer testing, following a “minimal” protocol, and using only thimerosal-free vaccines when you do have to vaccine. I’ve had many friends tell me their vets “don’t do” titer testing or thimerosal-free… but there are labs that you can use, where you get the lab order from them, have your vet do the blood draw & have your vet send the blood to them for titer testing. It’s no different from what your vet already does – they are just shipping to your lab of choice instead of to their usual lab. Same thing with the vaccine – you order it and have it sent to your vet in advance. The other thing is, the reaction my dog had gave me a “heads-up” to have his immune system checked. There’s a great organization called Hemopet (www.hemopet.org) that did a comprehensive immune system analysis on my dog & the director, Dr. Jean Dodds did a personal review for no additional cost – she sent me a report that explained the results in great detail and provided me with a list of supplements to correct his immune deficiency. She talked with me by phone & email over the next couple months while I got my dog stabilized at no additional cost. It completely changed my dogs health and was money well spent!. As an aside, the immune testing order form doesn’t come up on their website so you’ll have to call or email and ask them how to order it. Again, your vet draws the blood and sends it to their lab or to Cornell University…I forget which, but the order form has the shipping instructions on it.
Bottom line – the fact that you caught it so early means you can deal with it and get to them bottom of it. Taking charge over it will go a long way toward alleviating the stress and anxiety you are feeling right now. I promise!
Best to you & your pup!
I LOVE that! It gives me an idea – our high school around here are always looking to do community service projects to help “boost” their college applications…maybe I can put together a little “business plan” for something like you described and send it out to the college & career center at the high schools. Retailers here (Southern California) don’t often allow soliciting or donation bins but who could say “no” to doing a bin like that!? Especially if the request comes from a student & benefits a shelter! Thanks for the idea!!
It seems silly that it just never occurred to me that there might be dog food pantrys out there.! I donate to my local shelter, but I didn’t think about how I could support people outside the shelter system who are struggling to feed their pets. Betsy, is there a network or organization that you know of that people can seek out when they are in need? I would definitely support that! So far I only found meals on wheels in my county. Thanks so much to both of you for your feedback!!
CorinneJuly 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm in reply to: Quality Dog Food – Grain Allergy, Pancreatitis and Yeast Problems? #47471 Report Abuse
Oh – one more thing: you said above that some of the foods you found so far looked promising but you were concerned maybe still too high in fat. I remembered something when I read that…somewhere online years ago I found an article written by Mary Straus that I have kept in my files. It talked about how to calculate “low fat” vs. “very low fat”, etc. and also explains that dogs need *some* fat in order to digest fat-soluble vitamins. I was able to locate the original article again online ( it’s from 2008) and here’s a link to it…it’s a good article. http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/11_12/features/Healthy-Low-Fat-Dog-Foods_16088-1.htmlJuly 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm in reply to: Quality Dog Food – Grain Allergy, Pancreatitis and Yeast Problems? #47469 Report Abuse
I’m so glad to hear that the info was helpful – I remember how hard & overwhelming it was for me to learn about pancreatitis when it my dog was going through it. So it’s nice to know that someone else can make use of what I learned. I’m sorry to her about your experience with the vet – I think I just lucked out with mine. But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that your vet did anything wrong in prescribing Prednisone, because I think that it’s something that is widely used to treat specific problems, but just like any drug or herbal remedy, there are times & cases when it’s just better to avoid it – an argument could be made that giving your dog a corticosteroid so that he’s not in constant misery from the itchiness is a compassionate thing to do. The flip side is, there are risks associated with using it and if the “itchies” can be eliminated through diet & supplements maybe that’s worth trying.
I also don’t know why they are pushing Royal Canin – maybe they’ve had other dogs do well on it and think it’s the right thing for Milo. But I agree with you, if you suspect it’s triggering allergies it’s worthwhile to look at other foods.
My dog’s are doing great on what I feed them – I alternate between homecooked, home-prepare raw, and commercially prepare raw. But here’s the thing – I only started doing this about 4 years ago because one of my dogs had a blown-out immune system & I had to learn how to feed him in a way that was anti-inflammatory, avoided chemicals, avoided allergens, etc. etc. And to be honest, I have made mistakes along the way that could have done more harm than good (for example, I got the phosphorus/calcium ratio totally wrong for awhile and only discovered it after labwork came back with creatinine levels waaaaay high – I could have caused kidney failure in my dogs if that had not been caught & corrected). And I still consider myself to be learning – so I keep a close eye on them and read everything I can get my hands on and keep it simple and safe. I will do some research for you & report back what I find, but in the meantime, keep up your search for a nutritionally complete & balanced high-quality commercial food that meets the requirements for Milo’s pancreas.
I do think a simple boiled chicken & rice diet is useful when dogs are sick – fewer ingredients to upset their system. But, the recommended fat ratio for a dog with damaged pancreas is REALLY specific so I would only home cook right now if I knew for certain that the recipe I used was safe in terms of fat ratio. The recipe I used after Max had pancreatitis was formulated for me to deal with his other issues but I’ll look for info on a basic safe recipe for you.
BTW: Thanks to the other posters who found my post helpful. I learn so much from you all and from this website! I really appreciate the resources & people here!
CorinneJuly 21, 2014 at 10:29 pm in reply to: Quality Dog Food – Grain Allergy, Pancreatitis and Yeast Problems? #47416 Report Abuse
I completely feel for you – it can be overwhelming trying to digest all the information out there when you just want to make your pup feel better! I had a Golden Retriever who had a bout of pancreatitis, and I learned a lot in the process – maybe some of it can help you.
First I had some concerns about Milo reading your post – and I want to address them without sounding preachy or condescending, so please understand that I am approaching this as if you have the level of knowledge that I had when it happened to my dog (very little knowledge). So forgive me if some of this is just plain simplistic and maybe obvious.
I never learned what caused the pancreatitis in my dog – there are theories, but the best experts I talked to said it could have been just plain old bad luck. What there seems to be agreement among the experts is that, once a dog has a single an episode of pancreatitis, everything changes – dietary needs, vaccine protocol, immune support, medication sensitivity, everything… FOR LIFE. That sucks, right? But it’s assumed that the pancreas is now more fragile or less efficient than it once was, and the goal becomes avoiding another bout of pancreatitis.
So you’re already working on the first step – which is diet; low protein, highly digestible, etc. etc. Essentially, a diet that doesn’t stress out his pancreas.
A compromised pancreas essentially means a problem in the digestive tract, which is why I wanted to respond to you. Digestive problems are often tied to things you are describing in Milo, like food sensitivity, itchy skin, loose bowels, yeast infections & immune deficiency. A healthy pancreas releases digestive enzymes into the digestive tract which then help to breakdown the good food you feed him so that his body can utilize all those wonderful nutrients. So the first step that you are already tackling, “what high quality food can I use?” is critical! Unfortunately, I don’t know – I feed homemade – but I trust that you will get some wisdom from this site & through your research will get that answer. But the NEXT steps are equally important, and here’s where I hope my experience can help you.
Part of the dietary changes you must make is supplementing with pancreatic enzymes. Ask your vet or do some research. I used a formula that was specifically recommended for my dog based on tests run by his endocrinologist – and my dog was a 90 pound, 14 year old Golden – so I can’t tell you what’s right for Milo. However, I can tell you that minimally, Dr. Pitcairn’s book says just pick up a human grade digestive enzyme from the vitamin store and give ½ capsule with each meal. That would be better than nothing.
Without proper food digestion, the best, highest quality diet won’t give Milo the nutrients he needs. So don’t skip this step.
Next, vaccine protocol. Dogs with compromised pancreas should follow a more “minimal” vaccine protocol. Ask your vet, or google Dr. Jean Dodd’s vaccine protocol to get additional information.
Immune support: here’s where I think Milo really would benefit from your research and discussions with your vet. The food symptoms you describe (itchy skin, loose stools, yeast imbalance, etc.) sound to me like two things going on: 1) problems in the gut – which will be dealt with thru diet & supplements; and 2) a weak immune system. The skin is a wonderful organ for telling us when our dogs’ immune systems are struggling. A dog with a healthy immune system will be pretty resilient when it comes to yeast & other skin flare ups. A balanced complete diet, fully digested with the help of enzymes may go a long way toward giving him relief – but you probably need to look into some immune support supplements to help him recover initially. Ask your vet, or look into having his immune system tested at http://www.hemopet.org the lab report will include a review by Dr. Dodds who can suggest a specific immune support protocol for Milo. I used Moducare (Thorne Labs) plus other specific herbs & vitamins.
Medication sensitivity: And here is where you are not going to like me…Prednisone is not something I would give to a dog 30 days after pancreatitis. I absolutely understand why it was prescribed (to make your itchy dog less miserable), and frankly, I don’t know of any substitute that will do the trick. The problem is, Prednisone is a corticosteroid and can actually trigger a bout of pancreatitis. It is absolutely not safe for Milo right now…sorry. Google it or ask your vet if this seems like questionable advise – but I can’t stress enough, NO PREDNISONE.
I hope you take this in the spirit offered – advice from a fellow pet owner who adores her pets. And hope Milo is on the mend soon!
I say maybe it is, maybe it’s not. More importantly, your vet says it is…or rather, your vet says your dog needs a specific diet right now to address the BUN/Creatinine results. Feeding a raw or homemade diet is the “best thing” for your dog only if it is supporting your dog’s wellness. Creating a nutritionally complete recipe plus providing the right supplements is tricky — especially when your trying to address kidney issues. There are many exceptional commercially prepared foods (look at 5 start rated reviewed foods here on this site) that might be better suited for your dog right now – could be raw, freeze-dried, canned or dry. The point is, it needs to specifically address the health problem. The other things I would look into & discuss with my vet would be:
– how did these test results compare to his prior bloodwork?
-did he fast before having the blood drawn?
-what did his other levels look like? Calcium? Phosphorus? Sodium:Potassium ratio?
– Is his BUN level in the “normal range for raw-fed dogs?
– was protein detected in the urine sample?
And I would ask my vet, “If I were to change his diet as you suggest, what do you expect we will see on the next test? How long do you think it will take to see a change?”
I feed raw. I’m an advocate of feeding raw. At the same time, I trust my vet and when he tells me there is an issue I tend to believe him.July 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm in reply to: New Dog – Tick Bites, Loose Stools, Whipworms, Limping #47381 Report Abuse
Hi again, Alina,
I do get the part about Animal Control having their policies, and the vet’s office being busy – both totally valid and I get that you are trying to be responsible & compliant in getting the neutering done on time. But above you said that this is your first time being responsible for a dog on your own – and so I wanted to encourage you to take a firm hand when it comes to your pets health. I have kids in their mid-20’s ( I assume they are close to your age) and this is what I would advise them if they asked:
There is nothing wrong with saying to the vet “I’m not comfortable putting my dog thru surgery right now because he’s not well. What do you recommend?” Any pressure or threats by Animal Control could be responded to by saying, “When I adopted him, he had whipworms, and had not been cleared for tick-bourne illness. He is now on medication and when he is strong enough and cleared by my vet, I will neuter him.”
I wont preach further, but I did want to nudge you a little to push back when you feel it’s in the best interest of your dog.
I’m sorry to hear about your pup’s troubles. You asked about things that can boost his immune system – here’s a link to an excellent article on the subject: http://www.victoriabenda.com/articles/jDodds/immune.shtml
You can have testing done to pinpoint immune issues; I had Dr. Dodds do my dog’s testing because I was referred to her by my vet. Based on the test results, my dog was taking
* Plant Sterols (Moducare, Thorne Labs)
*Turmeric/curcumin supplement (Merina)
*Vitamin E d-alpha tocopheral
*Vitamin C / Ester C
The daily amounts were specific to my dog & based on weight, so you would need to consult a vet for correct dosages for your dog. There is a list at the end of the article that includes other immune support supplements.
Personally, although I feed my dogs raw, I wouldn’t presume to try to convince anyone to do the same. It’s messy – and sometimes it’s just a pain in the neck! When I am busy (or lazy), I buy prepared raw dog food that includes only high quality, human-grade ingredients and I find the warnings and disclaimers about “contamination” slightly hilarious since it’s the same stuff I buy at the butcher’s counter to feed my family. Some of the “cautions” make it sound like I’m bringing a nuclear weapon into my kitchen – when in fact it only contains fresh, ground meat & vegetables.
If you are avoiding a raw diet because the of the safety questions, I can tell you that high quality, fresh, human-grade foods are safe for you to handle & for your pup to eat. If, on the other hand, you are avoiding raw dog food because your pup had a hard time digesting it, I would tell you that there some great resources (this website especially) that can give you some suggestions on how to transition your pup off commercial kibble if that’s your goal. And, if you and your pup find kibble works best for you, there are also some great articles here about how to select an excellent quality dry or freeze dried dog food. In the end, the fact that you are even posting on this site makes me think that you are probably already feeding your pets a lot better than 99% of pet owners out there because you are clearly concerned with nutrition & wellness.
Best of luck in whatever path you decide upon.
CorinneJuly 20, 2014 at 1:12 am in reply to: New Dog – Tick Bites, Loose Stools, Whipworms, Limping #47311 Report Abuse
I’ll let others here on this forum make specific suggestions on the health concerns you asked about, but I would strongly encourage you to hold off on the surgery (neutering) if you can – maybe do it after your dog’s a little healthier and has had a chance to recover from the digestive issues & whip-worm medication. That’s just an awful lot for a little body to go thru all at once. Plus, if the tick panel comes back “positive”, he’ll probably be given more medication – it just seems like a lot going on at once and if you can reschedule his surgery he might have an easier recovery, and in the meantime you can just bond with him and help him to get strong and healthy.
Best to you & your new pup!
I feel compelled to respond to your post because I also found this site when I got interested in dog nutrition after one of my dogs developed health issues…and to be honest, it hasn’t been an easy road. However, I can tell you that the journey has resulted in major improvements in all of my dogs’ health & wellness. And I’m committed to continuing the journey – but it’s daunting at times, expensive (but the costs are offset by reduced vet bills), and sometimes overwhelming. I made some mistakes along the way, mostly in trying to get the supplements right & balancing the calcium/phosphorus ratio in homemade/raw feeding – but fortunately, my dogs are healthy and thriving on a natural diet. So if my experience can help others to avoid some of the pitfalls along the way, that would be great.
So here’s my 2 cents based on what I read above: I would start with Cookie, since she has cancer & arthritis (and is over weight) I think she’s in greatest need. This may be “off subject”, but the first thing I would do is cease any vaccines completely. Her immune system is compromised by the cancer, so your vet should be able to give you a waiver if you need one in order to keep her “tags” current – if your local jurisdiction wont accept a vet’s waiver, you can pay for titer testing in lieu of vaccination. But to be honest, I don’t think you would/should have to go thru that expense ( I can elaborate if you need help getting around city requirements). Next I would get a consult with Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemolife http://www.hemopet.org/veterinary-diagnostic-laboratory.html
you can do this by phone or email if you are not located in southern California. Call her and explain Cookie’s situation & that you are looking to switch her diet. She can tell you what labwork would be appropriate to determine a course of action (especially testing Cookie’s immune system & inflammatory issues) you can print the lab order from her website & have your vet do the blood draw & have your vet send it to her for the testing. Ask her to call you with the results and her recommendations – she can tell you what supplements to use to assist with Cookie’s immune support & inflammation/ arthritis. I would ask Dr. Dodds about raw feeding for Cookie – if her immune system is an issue, you may want to buy a high quality prepared raw food like Bravo Balance http://www.bravorawdiet.com/product/balance/index.html and *lightly* cook it – just enough to be extra safe. Of course, getting Cookie’s weight down to optimum level will help with the arthritis – if you feed her the Bravo Balance at the amount appropriate to her *ideal* weight, her weight should normalize in a few months without her feeling deprived. Bravo’s website has a feeding calculator you can use to determine the amount to feed – just remember to plug in her ideal weight, not her actual weight. Here’s a link: http://www.bravorawdiet.com/product/feeding/howmuch.html
I only suggest a prepared raw diet because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of feeding a “nutritionally complete” raw diet – and it sounds like Cookie needs help ASAP. As for cost, assuming Cookie’s ideal weight was 60 pounds, you would feed 1.2 lbs of food per day and I think a 5 lb chub of their balanced brand is like $27 – so her food would be about $42 per week. When I make raw/homemade my cost is about $2 to $5 per pound, depending on my protein source (and not including cost of supplements). Expensive – but I’ve saved a TON on vet bills; my dogs never get skin issues or yeast infections anymore.
As for the other dogs and your journey to switch to raw, there are some great resources here on this site and suggestions for other resources – just read everything you can get your hands on and learn about the diet/wellness connection. If you find it challenging at first maybe switch first to a home made diet, then take the leap to raw when you are ready. At least with home cooked you have control over your ingredients & can deal with specific ailments (like Mia’s yeast infections) by eliminating foods that are common culprits for yeast imbalances.
Best of luck to you in your journey!