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I've yet to find anything that really answers this somewhat complicated situation on the web, so I figured I'd see if anyone here has any experience similar to what I'm looking at.

I have a 7 year old Rottweiler, although she is a "small" Rottie if that matters (about 70-80 lbs).

She has been on prescription food for well over a year now and has cycled through some concerning test results. Her prescription food journey began when the vet was concerned with some kidney numbers (creatine I think), so she wanted us to put her on Purina NF for renal issues. She was on this food for nearly a year. If you are unfamiliar, it is pretty unimpressive stuff. Low protein is the idea behind it, so it is very grain heavy, including corn. Looking at the ingredients, you wonder how it costs $80/bag.

So we went back for her yearly exam a couple months ago. This time the vet is more concerned about crystals in the urine. She had been on vitamin C already to keep the pH in her urine balanced, but I guess it wasn't enough. The vet instructed us to go on Royal Canin Urinary SO and I bought a Drinkwell to encourage her to drink more. She has been on that for maybe 1.5 months now. At the time the vet also commented on her lipase levels, asking us if we feed her table scraps or anything. We don't.

Last week we went back for a quick check of her urine and they drew some blood to run another panel. Now the lipase is apparently the bigger problem, since it is still high. So the vet wants to move us to another prescription food, this time Science Diet (not sure which variation). I guess it is another low protein food. The vet hasn't mentioned actual pancreantitis or kidney disease yet, just tests results that have caused concern.

My fiance and I are puzzled about the lipase issue. She is fed her dry food (which has been prescription for a while now) and I give her a milk bone before going to bed. From time to time we'll get treats a woman sells in our town, and we buy her the "low protein" varieties. She might have 5 of those in a month, they are small bite size treats. We don't have kids that would sneak her food, and the only other thing I see her eat is grass sometimes when we go for a walk. I have no clue what could cause her lipase to be this high.

So my question is this. I was wary of the prescription food before because the ingredients looked like crap. Seeing it doesn't seem to have helped much, I am hesitant to just go with this S/D stuff and call it a day. Its not exactly cheap, and I got to believe there are better options. Our vet is apparently hesitant to recommend something else since other brands have apparently not studied their food specifically for use with ailments like this. I guess S/D and co. have. She gave us the name of a nutritionist in the area who might have some suggestions I guess.

I guess in a perfect world, I'd like to find food for her that is low-fat, lower protein (although I've read conflicting reports on the value of low protein for kidney issues) and will help with her urine crystals. So I am just wondering if anyone has experience with a lipase issue like this or suggestions for a diet approach.

As far as the dog, she has no appearance of any health issues. Coat looks good, personality is the same as always. She gained some weight over the winter, but we are less active then. She swims in the summer and obviously walks more, and she has started losing weight again in the past couple months. Sorry for the novel, but there was a lot to get out. Thanks in advance.
 

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I've heard numerous stories of dogs with chronic kidney/UTI/crystal problems who are "cured" from switching to a raw diet.

Dogs with kidney problems need to be careful about protein because of the by-products created from processing protein. It's old research that suggests a high protein diet is harmful - but you need to be careful about the *sources* of the protein to limit the amount of nitrogen produced. Unfortunately, I don't know what types of sources are good for a dog with renal issues - but I know such diets do exist.
Take a look at this site: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=459#answer_7

Feeding your dog a hard-to-process grain-filled food, even if it's marketed as "perscription food", seems antagonistic to this logic. I would suspect that for a dog, protein sources that would be easily digested include meat sources - chicken, turkey, fish, etc. You could do some research to find out what meat protein the lowest nitrogen-producing by-product effect. Dogs have a hard time processing protein from grains/plant sources. For this reason, IMO, the less grain, the better! According to the above logic, it wouldn't surprise me that dogs with kidney problems that are fed a diet where the majority of their protein comes from plant/grain sources would only get *worse*, not better! Thus, I have to recommend looking into a high-quality, grain-free - possibly limited ingredient or raw diet.

I'm not one of those who go around promoting raw with an iron fist -- but I've heard so much about dogs put on corn-filled prescription diets for years with no real success, only to change to a raw (or grain-free/limited ingredient diet) and have it be a miracle.

Please look into it!
 

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You could cook or do raw and feed low fat, high moisture and keep to the exact numbers in those script diets. It cost less to feed Sassy homecooked food than the script kidney food for sure. Especially if you want to limit fat it gets hard to feed low phosphorus script food. The SO is very high in calcium and phosphorus, suspect its magic is the high sodium and fiber it contains. High potassium too, AAFCO requirements are low for potassium compared to more up to date NRC levels.

See http://www.dogaware.com/health/index.html and http://www.dogcathomeprepareddiet.com/index.htm for ideas. I learned how to make up recipes and put my dog's specific requirements into http://nutritiondata.self.com/ using a digital scale for more precise measuring. Coming from kibble Mary Straus's bit of this, bit of that was overwhelming and Dr. Strombecks' recipes were low in meat content for my liking. Have to mention Lew Olson too, a lot of her writing are here. http://www.b-naturals.com/index.php?main_page=newsletters and she has a book out.

Max isn't ill and I check his requirements occasionally the same way. There are a few scattered analysis of raw bones on the web and the 80% meats, 10% edible bone and 10% organ in variety does meet his needs. You can feed about 15-20% bone and be within the normal calcium and phosphorus numbers in commercial kibbles so just feed a bit less bone and you are where the script diets are. Only issue is the fat, you might find you need to take away some fat and feed some high calorie plant food such as glutinous rice or tapioca for calories.

On the K9KidneyDiet yahoo list I learned that pancreatitits is very common. She could have a very low level of inflammation chronically. Perhaps the loss of kidney function is reflected in the bad lipase numbers. Sassy had a high amylase rather than lipase but she did do poorly when I bumped her fat up a notch too far.

As for the crystals. Oh boy. Keeping her hydrated with plenty of opportunities to void her bladder, feed a meat based food and done. Just sending the urine out will crystallize them out as well. Check out the dogaware article on crystals, I have been there, done that with the miserable things.
 

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Thanks for the responses, and I have more reading material. I have no problem looking into raw or cooking for her, I just don't know what to put on the menu.

The thing that puzzles me is that I've read plenty about the idea of feeding raw, and my vet even seems to be an advocate of it, but she has not suggested it as a solution for our Rottie. She almost seems afraid to "prescribe" it as there isn't some study behind the theory like what Science Diet or Royal Canin can publish.
 

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No offense, but in your particular case, I wouldn't listen to anyone here's nutrition advice. Your dog has had so many different and changing health conditions. If you aren't go to use the prescription foods (which I think have crappy ingredients), I would actually consult with a dietician to design a food for your dog. Something like the links below:

http://www.petdiets.com/

http://www.monicasegal.com/
 

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Since your vet recommended a nutritionist, I'd contact that person. Hopefully he/she can help you design a diet that will work for your poor girl.
 

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I can't help with your dogs issues, except for the urine crystals. You already know about making sure he drinks enough; some good things to do is to add water to the food, add some canned too. Mix it all up for a stew. You can also feed a dehydrated food, lots of water needed to make it. Look at The Honest Kitchen, SoJo's, Addiction.
Good luck!
 

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Thanks for the responses, and I have more reading material. I have no problem looking into raw or cooking for her, I just don't know what to put on the menu.

The thing that puzzles me is that I've read plenty about the idea of feeding raw, and my vet even seems to be an advocate of it, but she has not suggested it as a solution for our Rottie. She almost seems afraid to "prescribe" it as there isn't some study behind the theory like what Science Diet or Royal Canin can publish.
if there ever was a dog who would benefit from raw, your dog would be at the top of the list. prescription foods seem to cause more problems than they help.....

a prey model raw diet for your dog would clean out her system and be kinder to her as she ages....

protein. a little bone. and organ. that's it. happy dog. happy stomach. happy lab values.
 
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