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Eating issues in an older BC, need some advice.


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Well just got back from the vet. She lost 2 lbs in 1 month. On a 30 lbs dog, that's concerning. Now she's down to 27 lbs from 29 last month at her teeth cleaning. I got 30 day bottle of mirtazapine and gave her a dose at 5. Hopefully she'll eat dinner. 

I also grabbed some more wet dog food and will "cook" for her again tonight. Then I'll get some mini raviolis from the store tomorrow. If this damn dog is going down, she's going to go down spoiled rotten. 

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I admit - I haven't read every one of your posts.  But:  I have a 3.5 yr old BC (rescue, so who knows really) that was losing weight, though he had a good appetite.  No vomiting, no diarrhea - but he has just been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  We started with an ultrasound, read by an expert (not my very good local vet), with no results.  Endoscopy was recommended and done, with a number of biopsies.  His is, hopefully, controllable, but will never be cured.  It's worth at least looking into this.  I hope it's NOT what your dog is going through.  My dog had NO symptoms except weight loss, even after I increased his food by about 30%.  He's going to put me in the poor house with his homemade diet now - but we'll be there together.  

diane

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59 minutes ago, BC-Liz said:

Results from her bloodwork came back. No kidney issues. But her liver enzyme levels are highly elevated. Probably means a mass on her liver. So I guess I got my thing to blame. But I can't fix it. 

:(

Oh, Liz, I am so sorry to read this. Hoping you and Masi have a peaceful few days ahead.

 

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Again, just my experience - and yours may vary.

I had a 14 yr old BC, who had been VERY active and VERY fit her entire life.  Her liver enzymes came back as elevated.  After an ultrasound, my internal medicine vet (an absolutely wonderful guy) suggested surgery.  I said to myself, "Self, do you really want to do this??"  We had many and lengthy conversations about the risks, the possibilities pro and con, the eventual outcomes, the possibility of increased life span. Because (and only because) I really really really trust this guy - I said, "Let's do it."  So they did.

Turns out she had masses on three lobes of her liver; they removed two (lobes!), but the third was where all the lobes come together and they just couldn't.  They also saw something "suspicious" on her spleen, so they removed that (the organ).  Turns one NONE of the masses were cancerous, and the spleen problem was an old hematoma. She recovered from the surgery in about 2 days (though I "forced" recovery much longer!), and went on to live another happy, active 2.5 years.  We're still not sure what took her in the end - might've been a brain tumor that developed very quickly, or might've been something else.  But it was quick.

I'm not suggesting surgery is the answer to your situation.  You must do whatever you feel best.  But just thought I'd share my story - which I still consider amazing.  (That said, I recently lost another dog at age 14 yr to cancer, which was truly inoperable.  I do get it.)

Enjoy whatever time you have, and thank you for sharing your story.

diane

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Thanks @diane allen. I'm probably not going to get an ultrasound. My vet said she wouldn't suggest surgery...so I'm on the "make her comfortable" plan. If she were a couple years younger I think I may be more inclined to it. Thank you for your story. 

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So sorry to hear this.  While it is always a very hard call, you are probably right not to put her through surgery at this point. I know I wouldn't, with my currently aging dog.

I have been through something like this and know it is excruciatingly painful, and at the same time there is a bittersweet part to it, in enjoying and cherishing the time you have left, and in caring for your beloved animal in the best and kindest way you can. I wish you much more time with your lovely dog, and the time and ability to hold close all the time that you have with her. 

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Thanks everyone, it's comforting to read your well wishes. Spoiling Masi is my new day to day goal. Unfortunately she's reduced to only eating things from my hand and the occasional plate. I've had to get inventive but so far she will eat SPAM, peanut butter tortillas, crackers, boiled egg, and the occasional scoop of dog food. Bready things seem to be the most appealing to her. Once I Get her to eat some tortilla, I can get her to show interest in SPAM or the egg. But never the other way around. It's funny, when the other two were around, they had epilepsy and issues with being on those drugs most of their life. Rhea had 2 cases of vestibular disease before she went. Masi was always my easy dog. Chill as could be and happy to do anything with her mom. That's why I knew something was wrong, way back in October when she started refusing food and acting incredibly nervous. Nothing showed up on tests until that one a week ago. I really thought I'd get her to 16, her body is in such good shape still. She's 1 month shy of her 15th birthday. 

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Well update from an ultrasound: her liver is fine. But she has masses on her spleen. So, same difference. But the more immediate issue is she also has pancreatitis. The vet thinks that is what's keeping her from eating. Fluids, different drugs and no more fat, hopefully she bounces back somewhat. But at this point she's a ticking time bomb. I'll keep her going until she doesn't want to walk, that's my cue. 

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Pancreatitis will do that! Hopefully the change up with meds and diet will improve her eating (or lack there of) habits. Purina EN is a great food..

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Liz, anecdotal evidence for bready stuff helping her appetite. I had 2 duodenal ulcers when I was 17, one very large one and one medium one. I had a lot of nausea, as you might imagine. The dr. told my mom to feed me before I got out of bed in the morning, he recommended a piece of toast, no butter or anything else.

It was darn near miraculous. Just eating that bland toast first thing made a big difference. I had to wait a few minutes, and then I'd actually feel some hunger. What's going on with Masi might be similar and having something very bland first thing could be key to keeping her appetite going.

Good luck,

R & G

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On 1/7/2021 at 8:31 AM, BC-Liz said:

But the more immediate issue is she also has pancreatitis.

Liz, if  you get any good information on how best to manage this I would appreciate hearing it, because one of my dogs seems to have pancreas issues and I don't know what to do for him other than do my best to limit the amount of fat he gets. I don't know what the percentage of fat should be in his dog food, or what is considered low enough fat. He has a prodigious appetite, and has always been a lean dog, so I hesitate to use a "diet" dog food. Similarly, I avoid prescription foods because their contents are highly questionable to me.

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@D'Elle I'm still struggling with this right now. I can't tell if Masi is getting better or not. At the moment she has a euthanasia appointment scheduled for this afternoon but all of a sudden she has an appetite so I might be cancelling it. 

Anywho that wasn't your question. I did dig up some advice on fat content in dog foods. I found a recommendation from a vet online for about 2 to 3% crude fat content and to make sure it is an animal fat, not a vegetable fat. Obviously the important thing is to cut out human food since our foods always have a high fat content. I would check your treats too for fat content. It was recommended to me by the vets here, to help Masi get through this, to buy a rotisserie chicken and feed only that and bland rice/noodles. So far she loves the chicken and has said hell no to the noodles. I don't blame her, bland noodles sounds pretty awful. 

I wish you the best of luck. 

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10 hours ago, BC-Liz said:

...Obviously the important thing is to cut out human food since our foods always have a high fat content. I would check your treats too for fat content. It was recommended to me by the vets here, to help Masi get through this, to buy a rotisserie chicken and feed only that and bland rice/noodles....

Please forgive me for pointing it out, but these 2 sentences directly contradict each other. Neither rotisserie chicken nor cooked noodles fall under the category of dog food but do fit right into the heading of people food.

I have to disagree that all human foods, especially lean meats, are fatty. It would be very easy to provide a diet of raw or lightly cooked lean meats with all visible fat removed. Cooked egg whites are fat free but high quality and easily digestible protein and can be purchased in quart cartons.

I'm never in the camp of feeding much in the way of starches to dogs, but white or sweet potatoes, rice and, yes, pasta along with a variety of other root and green leafy vegetables vegetables can all be cooked without adding fats to create a wholesome low fat diet for dogs. Some form of calcium raw bones, ground eggshells or seaweed calcium would need to be provided as well.

Dr. Peter Dobias has an online recipe maker that provides almost endless variations for both cooked and raw diets and can inspire a lot of choices for both healthy dogs and dogs requiring special diets.

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I also see a contradiction here, if the vet told you not to feed human food and then told you to feed her rotisserie chicken, especially as rotisserie chicken is very high in fat.

I am feeding some chicken to my dog as well, but I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut off every bit of fat I can find, and then boil it, which leaches out more of the fat, and discard the water. Then it is put through a food processer with cooked veges. The result is sufficiently fat-free that when I put it in a bowl and then wash the bowl afterward, I can just rinse the bowl well with water because there's no greasy residue. And the dogs absolutely love it.

I also give hard-boiled egg white, and eat the yolks myself.

On the other hand.....if my dog were that close to the day of departure from life, I would no doubt feed anything in the world that the dog likes, because it wouldn't make any difference at that point. 

I really feel for you, Liz. I know what it's like to be in the last days and you know it, and it is excruciatingly sad and painful. My heart is with you and I wish you and Masi peace during this time.

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12 hours ago, GentleLake said:

Dr. Peter Dobias has an online recipe maker that provides almost endless variations for both cooked and raw diets and can inspire a lot of choices for both healthy dogs and dogs requiring special diets.

.GL....I went to the website and put in the information and it gave me a meal plan,  and I thank you for that. It suggests the meat can be cooled (which it needs to be for my dogs) and the veges can be raw or cooked depending on what it is.

The site also said I needed to add 4 different supplements, which of course the site sells,  ( and so does Amazon) and they are pretty expensive. If I used them all it would probably cost me close to $100 a month if I gave them to both dogs. 

 Do you have any comment on these?  I am wary, not knowing much about this, and not knowing if it would really be worth the money. If it really is, I will come up with the money, but am already spending almost that much for heart medication and Dasiquin.

Anyone have information on these products?

 

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AFAIK, veggies that aren't cooked should be pureed to break down cellulose that dogs (and people) aren't able to do. Lightly cooking also breaks down cellulose and makes it more bioavailable.

I'd forgotten about the overt sales pitch on that site. I think his supplements are probably pretty good and I do use them occasionally, though almost never daily or at the full amount recommended by weight. And I only use the GreenMin very occasionally and a half portion SoulFood a couple, three times a week. I get fish oil elsewhere and occasionally give milk thistle.

(Dr. Dobias recently posted on his FB page that if he could only afford to use one of his supplements it would be GreenMin because of the increasing demineralization of farmland that leads to most commercially farmed food low in minerals.)

I mostly use prey model raw (~80% meat:10% bone:5% liver:5% other secreting organ) and I might add a very small amount of lightly steamed or pureed vegetables or supplements occasionally as mentioned above (some various powdered leafy greens, etc.). I'm in the camp that feels prey model is pretty balanced over time if enough variety's fed, though have been reading a lot about certain vegetable matter is small quantities might be beneficial so have started to add a little, but not enough to really mess with the prey model ratios. I don't feed as much vegetable matter, starches in particular, as Dr. Dobias recommends, so can't really say much more on that.

Dr. Conor Brady (nutritionist) at Dogs First is also an excellent source of information. He also sells supplements though I don't think he's quite as assertive about them.

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Thank you all for our advice and thoughts! I'm glad to say that Masi is doing much better the last couple of days. I ran out of rotisserie chicken and have been feeding her baked chicken breast instead. I'm hoping after about a week of this I can start reintroducing low fat dog kibble again. She's got one more day of at home fluids and then I can stop poking the poor thing. She still loves her walks like nobody's business. I'm going to get her passed this pancreatitis and let her live her best life until the tumor takes her. Might be a week, a month, or a year. There's not really any telling. My plan is, if she makes it to her birthday on the 14th of Feb, I'll get her another ultrasound and check on her little buddy. 

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@D'ElleI spoke to my vet last night about reintroducing dog food into her diet and got some direction from her. She said you have to take it a step farther than looking at the %fats on he bag and look into how many grams of fat per 100 kcals. She said to aim for 4 grams of fat per 100kcals. She said that sort of information is more likely to be online than on the bag. I hope that helps! 

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Thanks Liz! although I'm afraid I have no idea how to look that up online, I will give it a try.

Finding a low fat dog food is hard, because the "diet" foods mostly have things in them I don't want, and also there's the fact that the dog in question is slim - doesn't have a spare ounce to lose.

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On 1/13/2021 at 11:52 AM, D'Elle said:

Thanks Liz! although I'm afraid I have no idea how to look that up online, I will give it a try.

Finding a low fat dog food is hard, because the "diet" foods mostly have things in them I don't want, and also there's the fact that the dog in question is slim - doesn't have a spare ounce to lose.

That's my problem too. Masi doesn't have an ounce to lose. Makes me wish I'd let her get fat in her old age instead of keeping her trim and maintaining activity level.

She's starting to snub baked chicken now. I'm trying tuna on her at this point and I'm slowly introducing a low fat dog kibble. I'm tempted to put her on appetite stimulants but I don't want to artificially extend her life when she's just plain getting tired. Thoughts? 

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