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Chronic pancreatitis, weight loss, thinning fur, dry skin

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by shelbysdaddy, May 22, 2020 at 10:02 PM.

  1. shelbysdaddy

    shelbysdaddy Premium Member

    Hi, my baby Shelby has had some weight loss (usually 22-23 lbs, now 19) and her fur continues to thin and be brittle around her rump, and her skin is very dry. She has also been VERY hungry and eating her poops so the vet suspects intestinal inflammation and malabsorption of her nutrition. We had diagnosed her with mild hypothyroid and have her on replacement levothyroxine but it hasn't helped. Yesterday we did labs and today they came back as thyroid is in range but she has pancreatitis. She is not vomiting and is always hungry. The vet is recommending an elimination, home-cooked diet using balanceIT.com and stay away from high fat. I was thinking ground turkey, brown rice, and carrot. She says try this first and then later will need to add in multivitamin. The other option would be cod and sweet potato? Thoughts?
     
    Darren likes this.
  2. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    This is absolutely familiar and exactly what happened to Deska. Tully had similar issues but without the skin problems. It sounds like Inflammatory Bowel Disease – that’s not IBS but an auto-immune disease of the small or large intestines.

    I really recommend seeing an internal medicine specialist (IMS), I fuffed around with different treatments by the general vet for years. Now Tully is with an IMS and I'm saving on lots of vet bills, even though the initial outlay is higher. Unfortunately, Deska's diagnosis was too late.

    Tully has chronic pancreatitis and mod-severe lymphocytic eosinophilic IBD (there are many different types of IBD). Deska had severe IBD that was resulting in malabsorption, causing the fur loss.

    Tully takes a steroid to dampen down her immune system, without it she would have more scarring and would be less able to absorb nutrients. She also takes a drug for reflux and metronidazole when she has a flare (and mashed white potato, it’s the easiest thing to digest). In addition she is on Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat in the cans, and I strictly follow this (even make treats out of it). It has pork – Tully is sensitive to chicken, turkey, sweet potato and pumpkin. We did have an option for home cooked, but the Royal Canin is great with pancreatitis as well and it’s easier than trying to balance a diet.

    Anyway, I think rather that keeping on elimination trials and burning through your novel proteins I really would recommend getting a referral to an IMS. There is also a Facebook group worth joining called Dogs with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (the one run by Chris Ringle is the better one), and you can read some of the stories and files and see if it sounds familiar. Plus people can recommend an IMS near you.

    Happy to answer any other questions you have.
     
    Sharon7, RikyR, Ann and 2 others like this.
  3. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    Caro is a fantastic resource for information on this and she's given you some terrific advice. I'll just weigh in on the home-cooked diet. I feed Flurry home cooked for her staph allergy, which is different from your girl's problem but I also have to be super careful about what she eats to avoid flareups.

    I was given some recipes by the nutritionists at Natures Farmacy for Flurry's issue and have been using them now for two years. They were so helpful answering my questions, making recommendations and adjustments and I recommend them highly. They can also tell you what supplements you should add to keep the meals balanced. Flurry has thrived on her diet and her skin and coat have finally improved. I rotate between ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken and ground beef for proteins and add leafy green veggies and quinoua, barley or brown rice. I throw it all in the crock pot every two weeks or so to make a batch and then freeze portions that will last a few days each.

    I think the Natures Farmacy folks could help you a great deal with meal prep if you want to talk to them. You can reach them here for a free consult. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
    Sharon7, Caro, Darren and 1 other person like this.
  4. shelbysdaddy

    shelbysdaddy Premium Member

    Thanks everyone for the helpful info. Do you think the cod & potato recipe on Just Food For Dogs is a reasonable place to start? They have a regular Cod & Potato and then a lower fat one https://www.justfoodfordogs.com/hepatic-support They also can send you the recipe and supplements and you just buy the food ingredients and cook on your own. Or is it really best to do it totally on your own? Or should I start even simpler with just 2 or 3 ingredients?

    I did ask about steroids and they said it wasn't severe enough for that yet, so I am hoping we are catching this early?

     
  5. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I love the photo of Shelby! What a precious girl.

    I don’t know enough about her medical issue to give you an opinion on whether this recipe would be good for her other than to say whatever you choose, don’t do it on your own! You need additional specific supplements to make sure she gets the nutrients she needs and you don’t want to guess at that. I would use recipes from a service with nutritionists to advise you and provide the supplements. Make sure they’re experienced with Shelby’s medical issues. If these people can do that it will help you enormously making her food.

    I’d also ask your vet to bless whatever recipes you’re going to use. That’s what I did, just to be safe.
     
    Caro and Darren like this.
  6. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    If she has malabsorption that to me sends off alarm bells. That's more likely to occur with scarring, or there's other forms of IBD, like EPI-IBD that requires specific tests and supplements like B12, or enzymes.

    You need super low fat for pancreatitis. As Ann said, you're better off doing this with a nutritionist advice.

    With an elimination trial you need to start with the absolute minimum ingredients and a novel protein. You only slowly add ingredients so you can work out sensitivities, so often it will be unbalanced for a little while. Even supplements can cause issues so I wouldn't start with them. Your vet should be giving you more direction on that though.
     
    Ann and Sharon7 like this.
  7. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

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    Layla actually is doing fabulously on Hills ID.
     
    Caro likes this.
  8. shelbysdaddy

    shelbysdaddy Premium Member

    Hi, last night I bought some store fresh cod and cooked it and gave her a little piece about an hour after her usual dinner just to taste it before we introduce it more. She ate it really happily but then she threw it up less than 5 minutes later. Then she was scratching at her nose and about 20 minutes later started shivering and got lethargic. She doesnt usually throw up so I thought maybe she just ate too fast (she really gobbled it up) but then when she started shivering and clearly feeling bad I wondered if it was an allergic reaction or food intolerance. She has never had cod before but has had salmon (but the hydrolyzed salmon and pea diet from blue buffalo). Spoke to the vet who said ditch the cod, give her a few days to rest, then try lean ground turkey. Thoughts? Sorry now I'm starting to get more nervous.

     
  9. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I'm sorry to hear about Shelby's reaction to the cod. I hope she's OK. I totally agree with your vet, I would stay away from fish for many reasons. I use lean ground turkey also, I'd stick with that until you get her diet sorted out. I also use ground chicken but even that can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.

    If you are concerned about a food intolerance, I used this test from Jean Dodds' Nutriscan lab to check Flurry when we were trying to isolate her issues. It's very easy, just a check swab they mail you to send in and it tests for all sorts of foods. Here's a link to more information and to order if you're interested. In the meantime, I'd follow your vet's instructions and keep her on cooked ground turkey with some plain rice if she tolerates it.
     
  10. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Ann, there's been several recent studies showing the inaccuracy of this test, including a study that Jean Dodds herself was involved in. There are many people on the IBD forum who found that out the hard way so now they issue a warning when people ask. Food elimination trials are the gold standard.

    After Tully developed an allergy to chicken, and Deska did years before to all poultry, I learnt from the IBD group dogs tend to develop allergies to protein, and chicken is the number one food allergen in dogs, probably because it's the most commonly used protein. That's why a lot of vets now suggest lean ground beef when dogs have upset tummies. Poor Tully used to love her chicken necks.
     

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