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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Kidney Disease in dogs...Update Log 14 with a ?

    Timothy is my 14 year old Terrier mix. He was my first dog as an adult and was my "barn dog". Throughout college and the first few years after college he came to work with me everyday at various stables. He is now elderly, though you wouldn't really know it based on how he still loves to go for his daily works. However, over the past few years he was diagnosed with kidney disease with high creatine levels. Therefore a few years ago we changed his diet to something that was healthier.

    Here's the problem - Timothy has been a finicky eater all his life. He is a terrier and so has always eaten minimal and stayed active. Now in his older years he is refusing food more and more.

    At this point I feel that he is just too skinny and needs a little more meat on his bones. I would like to see him eating happily. But I don't want to feed him something that is going to cause his creatine levels to rise and to die sooner than necessary.

    It's such a balancing act now, and I'm not sure what is best. Does anybody have any suggestions? Chicken, boiled beef, I'm really not sure what would be best.

    I do have an appointment this week to talk to the vet, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask COTH for help.
    Last edited by Tazzie; Aug. 5, 2009 at 01:42 PM.



  2. #2
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    My only experience is that I used the Science Diet canned food formulated for dogs with kidney disease, and I think you can only get it from the vet.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  3. #3
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    We had a barn dog with the same issue, he was a bigger guy though and just started dropping weight. He had the special kibble he HATED! and he was restricted other then that. What the vet had us do was buy one of those rotisserie chickens once a week from the grocery store and tear all the meat off and then seperate into 7 even bags. That way each day he got his little baggie mixed in his food with 1/2 cup of cooked white rice. He never got plump again but definately wasn't skeletal. He would even eat the kibble with some vigor trying to get all the good bits out. So perhaps check with your vet and see if that is an option.



  4. #4
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    We had a Maltese with chronic renal failure. We fed the veterinary diet (K/D I think) for a year or so, but as her condition progressed she stopped having enough appetite to eat this food (and always preferred the cans to the kibble). We did a lot of research about appropriate homemade diets. . . basically we mixed one part meat (boiled chicken) one part vegetable (frozen broccoli, carrots, or spinach) and two parts starch (oatmeal, whole grain pasta, or brown rice). She really liked one concoction in particular: ground turkey mixed with whole grain pasta, spinach, tomato paste (a great food additive for dogs), and a little parmesan cheese. We also mixed drained chopped pineapple or blueberries with oatmeal for her. For the last months she was on twice daily sub-cu fluids as well, which tremendously helped her appetite.

    I have to say also that it is such a difficult balancing act; trying to keep them healthy and maintain their quality of life for as long as possible. Of course, this was something that slowly worsened over a period of a year or more. Most of that year she was in reasonably good health and reasonably happy. The last few months were really difficult though. She had enough good days and would just crash once every couple of weeks and need IV fluids for a couple of days. In the end I have to say that we did too much for too long. . . I wish we had just fed her what she wanted and liked. We tried so hard to just keep her alive for as long as possible with the sub cu fluids and the special diet and such. . . she may have lived a few months longer but I wish she had been happier in the end instead.



  5. #5
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    Talk to the vet about sub-cutaneous fluids, especially if you feel comfortable enough to give them yourself. I also just learned today that oftentimes with kidney disease the loss of appetite is due to a constant feeling of nausea. I wonder if daily famotadine (Pepcid AC) would help with that? Is he on the Hills K/D diet? You want a diet that is low in protein to help his kidneys out. I'm sure Iams/Royal Canin/Purina make similar diets, but for whatever reason most of the animal I know are on the Hills version. PetsMart carries a lot of these alternate brands, so see if you can get your vet to write a script for several brands so you can see if he prefers one of these other brands to the KD (or whatever he's currently on). Sometimes some of the allergy foods (D/D comes to mind, at least for kitties) are also low-protein, so they might be an option. All of the food companies produce vet handbooks that have a break down of the nutrients in their foods, so have the vet check out which others might be low protein if your pup simply won't eat one of the kidney diets.



  6. #6
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    Aug. 8, 2007
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    My old dog is on the presciption Science Diet K/D, for kindney disease. You can get it at Petsmart (the ones that have the banfield hospital) if your vet gives you a prescription card. There has also been some evidence (though not proved how) that Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help the creatine levels.

    After several months on both the food and the fatty acids, her levels have dropped to a safer level.

    Ask your vet and tell them that your dog is a picker eater and what can you fix for him that is healthy for his kidneys. Watch out for high protien, sodium, and potassium. I make most of my dog treats to avoid these things. Good luck!



  7. #7
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    There is a *ton* of good info including lots of diet stuff here: http://www.dogaware.com/kidney.html



  8. #8
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    Sep. 16, 1999
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    My old newfie was diagnosed at age 10 with a kidney issue. I don't remember what it was called but essentially he pee'd A LOT...even when the vet withheld water. My options were medication (at over $200/month) or live with it. We opted for the later along with a diet change... from premium kibble to raw. Within a month, the kidney issue cleared up and he lived another 2 years! Haven't fed my dogs an ounce of kibble (premium or otherwise) since except for a transition period when I got the pup. I would highly recommend looking into a raw diet.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  9. #9
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    Oct. 24, 2007
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    When I went through this with my pup - I found a great resource on yahoo groups: http://pets.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/K9KIDNEYS/



  10. #10
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    Thanks for all of the input! I'm going to attempt to reply to the questions. If I miss any questions then it was just by accident.

    Timothy has been on the canned science diet and other various canned diets that are for kidney disease. He hates them! We've tried various things to make it taste better, warm it up, keep it at warm temperature, cut it into tiny pieces, feed him by hand! He just really doesn't like it at all. We've tried the kibble and soaking it first but it doesn't fool him. We've tried mixing both with peanut butter or chicken but somehow he still manages to eat around, amazing!

    I'm curious about the raw diet and will look into that. I'll also look at the websites that were provided.

    We've also given him pepcid when he starts to throw up a little, and that really helps, I wonder if it would help to keep him on pepcid all the time? I'll have to look into that.

    Again, it's such a fine balance. I want his last few years, or months, to be happy ones and I don't want to just keep prolonging the inevitable either.

    Thanks for the sympathy, I'm going to be an absolute wreck when I have to let him go, but I want to do what is best for him when the time comes.



  11. #11
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    Is he on a feeding schedule or do you leave food out all the time?

    The reason that I ask is that finnicky eaters are typically made, not born. If they have options or at least *think* they have options, they will let you turn yourself inside out trying to get food down them. They train us pretty well sometimes.

    This is one reason that we always recommended that folks get their pets on a set schedule. That way, if you DO need to change foods, it's not so danged difficult.

    Foods to stay away from when there are kidney issues would include lamb--high in phosphorous and harder on kidneys. Also, keeping a lower protein diet is less stressful.

    All that said, I would be considering eliminating all treats and getting pet on a feeding schedule so that you can make him eat the food that he needs to eat.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzie View Post
    We've also given him pepcid when he starts to throw up a little, and that really helps, I wonder if it would help to keep him on pepcid all the time? I'll have to look into that.
    Not sure if that's a good idea. Granted IMHO but I would think it would eventually be harsh on his system. Perhaps something to help the digestive backup that is more natural like pumpkin... maybe combined with some good plain yogurt for the probiotics?
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzie View Post
    We've also given him pepcid when he starts to throw up a little, and that really helps, I wonder if it would help to keep him on pepcid all the time? I'll have to look into that.
    My dog -- the 15 year-old Papillon-Chihuahua mix on the enalapril/ACEi thread -- takes 1/2 Pepcid AC tablet once/day. The vet said this would be good for his kidney issues. My dog has is asymptomatic, doesn't have vomiting issues.

    But my dog will not, under any circumstances, eat the k/d food.

    I don't think the k/d is all that great. Take a look at the ingredients. I feed either raw bison (if we're in Canada) or a combo of eggs and chicken or turkey. You can give the same nutritional values as the k/d, without the sucrose and other additives. My vet said the key is high-quality protein. Her example of 'low-quality' protein was hotdogs. As if I've ever fed my dogs hotdogs.



  14. #14
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    Update - Timothy is now on fluids every day. With the fluids he is eating much better (thank goodness!) and has lots of energy for an old man.

    What I want to know, and am so afraid to ask, is there any specific timeframe that he can live this way? I understand that the daily dose of fluids is keeping him alive.



  15. #15
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    Sep. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzie View Post
    Update - Timothy is now on fluids every day. With the fluids he is eating much better (thank goodness!) and has lots of energy for an old man.

    What I want to know, and am so afraid to ask, is there any specific timeframe that he can live this way? I understand that the daily dose of fluids is keeping him alive.
    I've seen dogs live a month, and some that live years with that regimine. Pepsid AC is safe to be given daily, check with your vet for the dosage. The onther thing that you may find helpful is the introduction of a phosphate binder. High phospherous levels are a big part of what contributes to the nausea, so an oral product to help decrease levels will also help with nausea and increase appetite.

    Hills K/D is the most commonly 'reccomended' kidney diet, but by far not the only or the best. Hills overall is kind of questionable as a food, most Eukanuba or Royal Canin diets are going to be a little better. If he refuses to eat any of them than feeding a good quality canned food is going to be next best. Adding more water to the canned food will help as well. Anyway you can get more moisture and water into him the better off you'll be. Obviously the more he takes in the more that will come out but it'll keep him healthier for longer.

    Katherine
    Vet Tech



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