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Help, what to do about dog pancreatitis?

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 Superesse (original poster member #60731) posted at 6:50 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Any over-the-counter supplements that help your dogs with this issue? With our 14-year-old Lab-Shepherd, we had good luck adding a powdered enzyme-probiotic to his 2 daily meals. It was available without prescription, but now the company seems unable to restock it. A friend suggested using a fresh dog food product that is sold already packaged and chilled, with only 4% fat, so for the last month we've tried feeding that half and half with his senior kibble, and it really seemed to help.

Last week, we finally ran out of the digestive powder and had to find another product, which we got at another major pet store. It's in chewy form, so it has a little canola oil (not sure how much) in each chew. The same night as we started him on that, he had a loose stool. Now it has been 3 days, we also started a new package of his fresh dog food (beef products with veggies) and he is all torn up, messing in his kennel. The vet says time for another round of tests and a stool sample.

Could it be the canola oil in the new digestive supplement? Or possibly the new package of the beef dog food? Seems we need to withhold his food until we can see the vet tomorrow. This would really be easier on the old guy if anybody in our vets' offices knew what to feed the dog!

Thanks for any suggestions!! This dog is our baby....

posts: 1447   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8734547
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number4 ( member #62204) posted at 7:02 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

I think the standard go-to with pancreatitis in dogs is plain boiled chicken and white rice. That would be easy to do until you see the vet tomorrow.

Me: BW
Him: WH
Married - 30+ years
Two adult daughters
1st affair: 2005-2007
2nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017
Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addiction
Status: R

posts: 975   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2018   ·   location: Southern California
id 8734548
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 Superesse (original poster member #60731) posted at 7:42 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Yes, thanks. We've done this stop-gap measure several times. Trouble we've found is that the local vets here (we have seen 3 in a 40 mile radius over the last 12 years, with this dog) seem fairly uninterested in helping owners find affordable enzyme supplements, which we know are out there somewhere. If they have anything, it is prescription only and sold for lots of money. We found such help with that one supplement, which has basically the same formula as what the vet mentions, for way less money. $20 as opposed to $120, for example.

I don't think I'm supposed to name product names, but just wondered if maybe others with this kind of problem would have found help they can administer the dog, without severely restricting the dog's diet long-term. He's already dropped weight and lost energy due to the low fat and lower protein we keep him on. Yet every vet visit, we keep hearing "what do you expect...he's 14..." like they really have no clue, or are saying his time is just about up, why keep trying... He wants to eat. He loves life. I am not gonna give up that easy.

[This message edited by Superesse at 7:43 PM, Tuesday, May 10th]

posts: 1447   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8734552
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 9:12 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Yup super lean meat, you can use the 93/7 ground beef, and rice.
My old girl developed multiple allergies, so I make her food from scratch.

So yah I would do gut rest for 24 hours as well. One of our older dogs had issues w/ this, and we would gut rest her for 24 hours, and let it calm down, then start off w/ the lean meat and rice for a day or two.

But at 13 it may just be an ongoing problem.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19250   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8734571
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 Superesse (original poster member #60731) posted at 3:58 AM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Thanks, Tush, I knew you had dealt with big old Labs with tummy issues. (What did these dogs do before our times, I wonder...besides die way too young?)

I must confess, last night I didn't have the heart to show him an empty bowl at dinner time...instead, I thawed out 3 little rice & lean ground beef balls I'd made for him when he was first diagnosed. He gobbled it all up, slept through the night okay, and I'm told had a normal movement this morning. So he got another 3 little rice balls for breakfast.

At the vets: much head-scratching, asking us when and how often he has been gut-sick. Stool tests ($200) showed no giardia or parasites but high Claustridium levels, yet his blood work was good overall. We showed the vet our OTC supplements, discussed the possibility we have a bad batch of "fresh" dog food product from the grocery, or the possibility he scarfed up a feral cat turd or a few bunny pellets that we didn't catch him doing (he is prone to do this disgusting habit...)

We left there with good lab work results, an Rx of metronidazole (2nd time in a year he's had and it helped last time), plus a bottle of 100 pancreatic enzyme pills. Yikes, this dog is the very definition of "high maintenance:" Obscenely expensive! But he was joyful as always to get back on the ride home, and didn't miss his "fresh meat" at all tonight (we still aren't sure it's off, but the texture of it was crumblier than the first two packs we bought). Tonight he got the antibiotic and 2 hours later the new enzyme pills with his senior kibble.

This should be a test of whether the prescriptions help. The vet said it may not be necessary to stay on enzyme pills but, after a year of tinkering with his digestion, if the expensive pills turn the corner for him, I guess it's a quality of life issue. (I am amazed at the level we go to with these fur kids. Shoulda bought pet insurance, right....)

[This message edited by Superesse at 4:05 AM, Thursday, May 12th]

posts: 1447   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8734803
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marchmadness ( member #6475) posted at 5:36 PM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Have you tried the pro plan fortiflora? We have had great success with it. We have a poultry intolerance (more common than you would think) as well but we do use the fresh delivery food and that has been money well spent. It can be a frustrating journey.

DDay 4/6/04 - 9 month A with COW
Me - BS
Him -WS - SA who finally got caught

Divorced 10/22/18

posts: 756   ·   registered: Feb. 16th, 2005   ·   location: pa
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 Superesse (original poster member #60731) posted at 7:50 PM on Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Hi march, thanks for the sympathy, it has been a challenge. Just when we thought we had him stable, something goes wacko. I'm not planning to keep feeding him that fresh meat product, now that we are spending a lot of money for the enzymes. We shall see if it helps.

We were sold a box of 30 Fortiflora yesterday; it has helped him with "garbage gut" in the past, and he loves it. Isn't it kind of overwhelming how many "probiotic" products one can find on pet store shelves, not to mention the myriad online stores? The stuff we can't find anymore contained 4 strains of probiotics, however, the reason we think it really helped with his pancreatitis was the 3 digestive enzymes it also contained (lipase, pancreatase and amylase). I showed the empty jar to the vet and she didn't dis it, just said the prescription stuff will be way more concentrated. I sure hope the Rx stuff will halt the old dog's deterioration. He is an outdoor farm dog that wants to do, see, taste and experience every little bit of life, and his love of life has been a big inspiration to me in my darkest times...I am reminded I should savor life as much as he does! (Not that he's easy to please, no sir. He'll let you know in a heartbeat if he's bored, hot, annoyed, or wants the back window down...so he can see MORE!)

I'm not sure if it's part of his current problem but last year, the vets started him on thyroid medication after his first "sub-normal" reading, but we quickly noticed 2 daily tablets of synthetic thyroid were jacking with his metabolism. He was drinking all the time and seemed to pant a lot more. He's part Husky/Shepherd/Lab and who knows what else... So right away, we decided to try cutting his dose down to one a day plus a natural thyroid supplement. (I found it online, it had rave reviews for reducing the need for synthetic thyroid.) Yesterday, his thyroid test came back ideal, so at last we confessed what we'd been doing for the last year, and the vet concurred that was the right amount.

I'm wondering, with the delicate balance one has to keep these guys in, whether we need to muzzle the poor dog when he's out and about. Because, even getting him out of the car to the house, he is always nose DOWN scouting for who-knows-what tasty morsel. He likes certain roots and grasses and of course any and all critter droppings; farm life! We already know we have nocturnal critters we don't see: coyotes, fox, skunk, possum, feral cats, rabbits, and deer; so policing his curiosity about this has been a struggle. He seems driven to "clean up the yard" for the girl dog.

But to top it all, on Day 1 of the heavy duty antibiotic metronidazole, what should show up but a 15 ton hopper truck driving right down our fence line, filled with turkey manure for the neighbor's big corn field. flinging chunks of turkey litter 40 feet into our property, scattering them all over the lawn almost up to our driveway!? Naturally, both dogs were very interested in checking out the smelly stuff. (Yes, they really do this kind of organic farming every spring out here in the Poultry Capital of America!) We will be forced to keep the dogs on tight leashes for the next few weeks...or maybe for the rest of their lives.

posts: 1447   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8734899
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TheCaterpillar ( member #49827) posted at 6:51 PM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Low fat diet is key!

We went through this with a small breed dog. For processed food fat content is key. If I recall we went with Solid Gold Fit and Fabulous. The crude fat % is low (it's fish rather than chicken or beef which seemed to suit our dog better and cleared up her dry skin) and good Fibre which also helped her poop better.

During a flare up boiled chicken and rice is safest. If they aren't digesting well add a small spoon of unsweetened plain pumpkin for fibre (you can freeze spoonfuls in an airtight container)

Absolutely no human food!

If they have a flare up try and get to the vet early on. We caught it early and were able to treat with digestive meds amd painkillers. I know others whose dog have ended up super sick and needed to stay overnight at the animal hospital. We were fortunate and after the first time she never had a repeat.

posts: 2593   ·   registered: Oct. 3rd, 2015
id 8735170
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 Superesse (original poster member #60731) posted at 11:41 PM on Friday, May 13th, 2022

Thanks, I will check that food out and get some pumpkin and freeze little balls of it, like I did with the rice and beef last time he was sick with loose stools and horrible gas. Did your dog have these symptoms? I wonder sometimes what we are dealing with. If only he could talk, or 'fess up what he snuck in to his daily intake! In 12 years with him, we have had trips to the vet every few years about his "garbage gut" and between times, he has seemed fine.

FWIW, the antibiotic really has cut out the horrible gas, and his stool is getting better now. Or perhaps those enzymes are kicking in.

posts: 1447   ·   registered: Sep. 22nd, 2017   ·   location: Washington D C area
id 8735227
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