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Dog food gurus...need some brainstorming

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  • Dog food gurus...need some brainstorming

    My wonderful Chessie is in kidney failure. We are discussing trying stem cell therapy as a possible off label treatment. I also need to make a food change.

    She is currently eating Acana Pacifica, at 33% protein. The vet would like to see her on a food that is 20% or lower at this point, given her values. She's not a candidate for K/D because of food sensitivity issues, and my vet would really rather not have her on one of the Hill's diets if possible, because he doesn't really like their ingredients overall.

    Acana's lowest protein point is 25%, so I think I have to move to a different brand. Are there any foods in the 15% - 20% range that are still of a generally high quality that anyone would recommend? No wheat, corn or soy, preferably a fish, duck or lamb protein.

    I'll do some more research independently, just know we have a lot of really knowledgeable folks here that might have ideas too.

    Thanks! And wish us luck.

  • #2
    low-protein diets have actually been shown to reduce the lifespan of dogs in kidney failure- what you want to feed is a PHOSPHORUS reduced diet with plenty of high-quality protein. I don't think you can continue to feed the Acana because it's not phosphorus-reduced.

    Most people opt for home-prepared raw or cooked diets.
    More information: http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/kidney-diet/


    • #3
      I understand hearing advice from internet strangers that conflicts the advice of your vet may be frustrating or disheartening so I went to dogfoodadvisor.com to see if I could try to answer your question. I am not a dog food guru.

      The article lean towards what wendy says. Once you get through that, the bottom has a long list of "Suggested Low Protein Dog Foods."

      I don't know what makes them "Suggested." The site annoys me but it is full of info.

      Maybe some others will have a similar experience and will chime in.


      • #4
        Great Yahoo group for information about Kidney Disease and Diets in the dog:

        Sue Myers


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the replies. I did read some of the reference material found through the dogfoodadvisor site article, and see there are of course conflicting sources. What did show up several times was that once values reach a certain level, it is advised to reduce protein. We are at those levels, and I'm working with a single failing kidney that has a mass on it already. She seems to fall into the category of dog that warrants diet change. My vet does not wholesale recommend low protein for dogs with kidney issues. In fact, he prefers to keep them on high-quality, high protein dog food as long as possible. We are just past that point I think. We didn't get to research specific brands during consult because we spent all the time talking stem cell therapy.

          There are a couple decent candidates on the low protein list from dog advisor that I'll look into.


          • #6
            No real suggestions but just wanted to wish you the best of luck. I'm sorry that y'all are going through this.


            • #7
              What Wendy said.

              Reduce PHOSPHORUS!

              Also you may want to make sure the water your dog drinks is not loaded with phosphorus, or anything which may cause crystals.

              My kidney failure dog is on my dresser, in a beautiful wooden box, cremated. I miss her still to this day. Very sad.


              • #8
                If you have a Tractor Supply they have a new formula of their 4 Health line that is grain free. The Whitefish has 25% protein.... dunno if this helps.


                • #9
                  that has a mass on it already.
                  that's a little different from the usual chronic kidney failure. A mass means there's something to go in and treat, a tumor or cyst or something. It's not something you manage with diet.
                  I've never heard of any benefit of reducing protein for dogs or cats with any health condition except temporary stabilization of an acute condition- most benefit from increasing the protein.

                  If there's a mass on the kidney, surgery seems indicated, not mucking around with diet. Dogs can live with one kidney.

                  I know a lot of people who have managed dogs with chronic kidney failure on a tripe- based, high protein, low phosphorous diet for years. They don't have "masses" on their kidneys.
                  If the dog is really in crisis, a phosphorous binder might be useful. Reducing protein isn't useful.


                  • Original Poster

                    If surgery were an option, I'd do it today. She is not considered a surgical candidate. If she had two kidneys, that might be different. I appreciate what you're saying but we've been ultrasounded twice and had multiple blood and urine tests. My vet has said we have two options - supportive care and experimenting with stem cell therapy. He has suggested a diet change to moderate the protein levels. He is not asking me to use a crappy Hill's diet, which I appreciate. Based on what you wrote and all the reading I've done the past few hours, I'm looking for a moderate protein level and reduced phosphorous food, as that seems to be the right choice for us.

                    I've found a couple candidates - Honest Kitchen Keen and First Mate Ocean Fish Senior (only available online). Anyone have any experience with either?

                    The Yahoo group is amazing, so many resources. Thank you for that ShadowsMom.

                    We will also be doing the stem cell therapy. There doesn't seem to be a down side to it, except the exorbitant cost, of course.


                    • #11
                      this, or something similar, is what most renal dog people I know use: http://www.aplaceforpaws.com/shop/in...roducts_id=728

                      but to me a mass on the kidney means your dog isn't in "normal" kidney failure and the usual advice doesn't apply. You might need to put the dog on one of the nasty prescription diets for a brief period for stabilization, or on a binder, or well, I'd look into why she has a mass and what you can do about the mass. That's the obvious problem. Diet seems very secondary, and why bother with stem cell therapy if the dog has a serious cancer? your information you provide is puzzling and incomplete.
                      Last edited by wendy; Jun. 13, 2013, 10:45 PM.


                      • Original Poster

                        I didn't expect to have to explain why my vet says we are where we are, quite frankly. I was asking about good quality, moderate protein foods. I could have asked that without other info, but that wouldn't work for you either. I could have just googled everything but you know, in times of stress, I think sometimes people just want to "talk" too, and it's nice to talk to other people who are also nuts about their pets.

                        The mass has been tapped. It's not cancer. He does not want to attempt surgery on her because he does not believe he can safely remove the mass on her only kidney, and he does not believe that would resolve the actual tissue damage. If she had a fully functional, or mostly functional, second kidney, she'd already have had surgery. In her second ultrasound he measured flow through her kidney and saw large swaths of non-functional tissue. Her creatinine has reached the level considered indicative of 25% or less function. He believes stem cell is an option based on studies currently being done on treatment of liver and kidney failures.

                        I hesitated posting precisely because of this. I should have gone with my gut. I've gotten good info from the Yahoo group already, so I'll just stick with that here forward.


                        • #13
                          While I hesitate to recommend Natura Pet any longer, they have a low protein kibble:


                          Lotus has one, too:


                          Natural Balance is on the edge of "good quality" (IMO):


                          Solid Gold:


                          Artemis Senior and Weight Management:




                          I have a whole spreadsheet of dog foods with protein, fat, fiber, calcium, calroies, and first three ingredients. It's out of date--I've not really maintained it since I put it together a year or so ago--but it might give you a starting point. I can email it to you, if you'd like.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KTRider View Post
                            I hesitated posting precisely because of this. I should have gone with my gut. I've gotten good info from the Yahoo group already, so I'll just stick with that here forward.
                            Hang in there, KTRider. Sorry you feel you have to keep explaining your vet to "the internet" . Every poster here wants what is best for your pup and is trying, in their own way, to help you achieve that.

                            Paws crossed & jingles for your girl. I'm curious to hear more about stem cell because my back doc recommended I go to Europe to get stem cell. So DVMS are doing it but MDs can't? Grrr.


                            • #15
                              Wellness Simple Salmon and Potato is modest at 25%. Good luck with your dog. Azodyl and Epakitin have really helped many of my patients.


                              • #16
                                I have the latest (2012) dog/cat vet nutrition textbook, and in the part about treating renal failure it admits that it has never been demonstrated that protein reduction alters progression of renal failure in dogs or cats, and gives a lengthy list of studies that have failed to demonstrate that protein restriction is helpful.
                                The only point at which protein restriction is helpful is if the animal is, as it puts it, "profoundly uremic". It warns that while restricting protein may relieve the uremic animal's symptoms- improving quality of life- it will not lengthen life, and may shorten it by inducing protein malnutrition.

                                Note that you can't just run out and buy any commercial kibble with a lower protein content for a uremic/renal disease animal- it has to be a low-phosphorus diet with high-quality (aka easily digested, aka not from plants) protein. Either one of the prescription renal diets, or a home-prepared diet. Some of the prescription renal diets have two problems- they have low protein content, and don't use the highest quality protein sources. I wouldn't feed a prescription diet long-term, but for stabilizing a dog, sure, it might be your best option.

                                that's for dogs with "regular" chronic renal failure. There are other syndromes that cause renal failure- for example, there's an inherited disease called glomerular disease, in which there is some limited data to support severe protein restriction as being very helpful in both slowing progression and prolonging lifespan.

                                Are you aware that they have started opening dialysis centers for dogs? if your dog is uremic, you might want to visit one. That might be more helpful than trying protein restriction.
                                Last edited by wendy; Jun. 14, 2013, 02:55 PM.


                                • #17
                                  I'm not sure what your dog's other nutritional "issues" are, but there are other diets designed for renal failure that might be an option. I am not a nutrition expert but I know that at our clinic, we will send home renal foods by Royal Canin, Iams and Hills. It seems that the Royal Canin is the go-to in our practice but I don't have specifics on why.

                                  Best wishes to you and your pup.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...