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So, Bella has a plethora of problems. The cancer right now is the least of our worries. She also has pancreatitis flare-ups, diabetes and EPI.

With the diabetes she can't have any food with high carbs, starch or sugars.
With pancreatitis it has to be lower in fats.
The EPI requires (in addition to the enzymes) fat, carbs and a lot of protein in large meals (150% of what she normally eats - ha!) until she gains weight back...which really messes with the diabetes and pancreatitis. No way I can give her that much more food.

Her vet also wants to keep her away from any raw diets (freeze-dried, frozen or dehydrated) because of her compromised immune system and stop feeding grain-free immediately. He even suggested her getting checked out by a cardiologist to be sure there is no underlying DCM.

Right now I'm transitioning her from Orijen Original to Hills Rx W/d kibble with added cooked organic chicken breast, 93% lean grass fed ground beef, beef or chicken homemade bone broth and green veggies. And no random treats allowed - which is the hardest part for both of us!

It is just so frustrating trying to find a quality, high protein, low carb/fat food that is not grain free. The Rx food might be okay for now until things smooth out, but the ingredients are less than quality.

If anyone has any suggestions to throw this way, please do! I want her to continue to thrive, not just get by.
 

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Aww, Bella Boo.

I think a partially or even fully home cooked diet might work for this diet. Dehydrated food can still be fully cooked if you use boiling water and let it cool. A base diet of a balanced nutrient mix (example, other example) combined with a very lean cooked meat protein sounds like it might work. Rabbit is VERY lean,as is venison if you know hunters.
That doesn't fix your fat and carb issues for the EPI though, if she didn't need cooked vs raw than I would suggest using some ground beef pancreas. I don't know if cooking it would take away the potentially (no science references to back this up) helpful effects

I'd probably be a little more lax on the carbs regarding the diabetes than the fat for the pancreatitis based on how quickly each can do damage. My layman's understanding though is that EPI nutrition needs would have to be first in line but if the enzyme is with every single meal, the digestibility rate is good.

All that said, if the Hills Rx works, then go with it. Ingredients aren't everything-- how a dog does on any given food is the key.
 

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My mini-schnauzer has had a case of pancreatitis. He is also prone to diabetes due to his breed.

I abandoned all kibble to go with steamed chicken breast (skinless). Soon, I went to raw chicken breast (skinless). His high value treats are either cubed pieces of raw chicken or small jerky treats of beef, duck, chicken. His daily meals (2 each day) consist of 150 gr (5-6 oz) of Chicken Breast and 30 gr (1 oz) of a veggie mix. The only grain is 50 grams mixed into the 800 gram bulk veggie mix, roughly 6% of the diet. Yes, he eats about 14 oz of food every day for a 13 1/2 lb dog, a bit over 6%, well above the 2-3% body weight recommendation

It has been over 2 years since the pancreatitis battle, no signs of diabetes. We walk a lot. At least 2-3X each day. In a month, we will cover 180-230 miles. He is lean and strong.

Don't lose hope. Shift to a steamed chicken breast. There is some fat in the breast, but most will steam out. I would think this would satisfy most of the requirements.

The key to feeding raw meats is in preparation. Treat the meats as you would for preparing to feed your family. Thaw the frozen meat in the refrig, wash hands, dedicated cutting board, clean knife.......just standard food prep hygiene. I buy my meat supply at the grocery store along with my food.

Good Luck. Hope Bella steps onto a healthy path.
 

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I agree with Shell - if the Hills diet is working, it's fine to stay on that. It's not a brand I'd go to for a healthy dog under normal circumstances, but their medical diets can be super useful. I have used one myself when Sam wasn't well and would again if necessary.

Good luck with poor Bella. Afraid I'm not knowledgeable enough to really give further suggestions, but she'll be in my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! It's great to hear from you all again! It's been such a battle. The EPI is the hardest part by far. I'm not sure if the enzymes aren't working or if she is just not doing well on the Hills.

She needed to go out at 2:00 this morning and her poo was nearly perfect!! You know things are difficult when a nice looking poo causes a happy-dance outbreak in the dark...and cold...and snow...lol

Then a few hrs after breakfast poo was mushy, runny and grainy again - same thing after lunch. Enzymes are added to every meal and allowed to soak in. :( :( :(

That seems to be the pattern. Great morning poo, but gets worse throughout the day.

I just don't know anymore. It's just so disconcerting. I'm not giving up! Just wish there was a secret "cure all" recipe!
 

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Sorry I didn't have time to post a proper reply - the plow guy showed up and I had to move my car :/

Aww, Bella Boo.

I think a partially or even fully home cooked diet might work for this diet. Dehydrated food can still be fully cooked if you use boiling water and let it cool. A base diet of a balanced nutrient mix (example, other example) combined with a very lean cooked meat protein sounds like it might work. Rabbit is VERY lean,as is venison if you know hunters.
That doesn't fix your fat and carb issues for the EPI though, if she didn't need cooked vs raw than I would suggest using some ground beef pancreas. I don't know if cooking it would take away the potentially (no science references to back this up) helpful effects

I'd probably be a little more lax on the carbs regarding the diabetes than the fat for the pancreatitis based on how quickly each can do damage. My layman's understanding though is that EPI nutrition needs would have to be first in line but if the enzyme is with every single meal, the digestibility rate is good.

All that said, if the Hills Rx works, then go with it. Ingredients aren't everything-- how a dog does on any given food is the key.
Thanks for your reply, Shell! Glad to see you're still here - you're always a wealth of knowledge about just about anything! :)

So, I do have a bunch of Stella and Chewys freeze-dried rabbit dinner patties that she always did very well on. I put them away after I was told to not feed anything raw. Do you know if the patties can be boiled to be unraw(?)

I'm also going to try her on some steel cut oats to see if maybe that helps firm things up a bit.

The enzyme lady recommended dried green tripe, which I'm slowly trying with her. They make ground beef pancreas? ewww.

I totally agree that the EPI has to be addressed first for anything else to fall into place. It's of course the biggest challenge as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My mini-schnauzer has had a case of pancreatitis. He is also prone to diabetes due to his breed.

I abandoned all kibble to go with steamed chicken breast (skinless). Soon, I went to raw chicken breast (skinless). His high value treats are either cubed pieces of raw chicken or small jerky treats of beef, duck, chicken. His daily meals (2 each day) consist of 150 gr (5-6 oz) of Chicken Breast and 30 gr (1 oz) of a veggie mix. The only grain is 50 grams mixed into the 800 gram bulk veggie mix, roughly 6% of the diet. Yes, he eats about 14 oz of food every day for a 13 1/2 lb dog, a bit over 6%, well above the 2-3% body weight recommendation

It has been over 2 years since the pancreatitis battle, no signs of diabetes. We walk a lot. At least 2-3X each day. In a month, we will cover 180-230 miles. He is lean and strong.

Don't lose hope. Shift to a steamed chicken breast. There is some fat in the breast, but most will steam out. I would think this would satisfy most of the requirements.

The key to feeding raw meats is in preparation. Treat the meats as you would for preparing to feed your family. Thaw the frozen meat in the refrig, wash hands, dedicated cutting board, clean knife.......just standard food prep hygiene. I buy my meat supply at the grocery store along with my food.

Good Luck. Hope Bella steps onto a healthy path.
Thanks Knute!

That pancreatitis is horrible and scary. I feel so bad for her going through that. That's one thing we definitely HAVE to avoid. Glad your pup has been doing so well!

I think I will try slowly cutting back on the amount of kibble and replace it with cooked food (chix, turkey, 93% lean beef, whitefish, veggies etc.) Canned has never agreed with her, so I won't bother with that.
 

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I agree with Shell - if the Hills diet is working, it's fine to stay on that. It's not a brand I'd go to for a healthy dog under normal circumstances, but their medical diets can be super useful. I have used one myself when Sam wasn't well and would again if necessary.

Good luck with poor Bella. Afraid I'm not knowledgeable enough to really give further suggestions, but she'll be in my thoughts.
Thanks DaySleepers - good to "see" you again! :)

I know, I feel so bad for my poor doggie. I can hear her tummy gurgling from the other room :(

I'll give the Hills some more time to settle in. I'm switching over VERY slowly, but that's all I can see in her stool (grainy). My problem is I jump to the next thing too quickly in an attempt to fix what's wrong and make it end up making it worse.
 

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Sorry I didn't have time to post a proper reply - the plow guy showed up and I had to move my car :/



Thanks for your reply, Shell! Glad to see you're still here - you're always a wealth of knowledge about just about anything! :)

So, I do have a bunch of Stella and Chewys freeze-dried rabbit dinner patties that she always did very well on. I put them away after I was told to not feed anything raw. Do you know if the patties can be boiled to be unraw(?)

I'm also going to try her on some steel cut oats to see if maybe that helps firm things up a bit.

The enzyme lady recommended dried green tripe, which I'm slowly trying with her. They make ground beef pancreas? ewww.

I totally agree that the EPI has to be addressed first for anything else to fall into place. It's of course the biggest challenge as well.
Still here :) Not at active since Chester's passing and not fostering anymore but still like to (virtually) drop in now and then. Eva is living the good life, just not doing anything particularly exciting to post about.

Those freeze diet patties might not be considered as "raw" from the vet's perspective. Not sure. They use a high pressure processing as a non-thermal pasteurization method and its a recognized USDA anti-microbial treatment. You can't cook them though as there is ground bone in the patties which isn't safe once cooked.

Yep, several of the fresh raw meat suppliers offer ground pancreas. K9 Kraving and My Pet Carnivore for example.

I probably would give at least several weeks on the prescription diet before messing around with it though
 
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