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BACKGROUND ---- In September my Italian Greyhound was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. She has had several bouts of it throughout her life, and we never quite knew what was going on. The symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, refusal to eat, lethargy/pain.

I have been giving a prescription for ranitidine (antacid) and sulcrate (to coat any possible ulcers). I use these whenever a bout comes on. The last serious one was in September but there have been a few short ones since then that were fairly quickly controlled with medication.


CURRENT CONCERN ----> The last three nights in a row, my dog has thrown up in the middle of the night. Not much food, just a little bit, and some water. I am not sure if this is pancreatitis or not, but I have given her the medication anyway, but it hasn't stopped. She seems otherwise normal. She is happy, eating well, active, and showing no signs of discomfort.


FOOD ---> I took her to the vet anyway to be on the safe side. He gave me a prescription for famotidine (another antacid). And he asked me what she is eating. I told him she is eating raw, which she has for most of her life. He said that raw is not good for pancreatitis and advised switching her to Royal Canin Low Fat Gastro canned food. I have given her this before during the worst bout of pancreatitis. She didn't like it much (but of course she was sick, so maybe that is why). My bigger concern, though, is the ingredients list. It contains a lot of things that don't seem like healthy food to me, and I mentioned this to the vet, and he said I was wrong. He says it is a healthy, balanced food made especially for dogs with her condition.

So now I'm confused. I don't profess to know more than my vet, but I feel wrong about this canned food. I have been doing so much reading about canine pancreatitis and I'm getting so many mixed messages.

Some sites say raw is bad. Some sites say that raw is better for pancreatitis. Some say you need to cook your own food (which I'm willing to do if it's better) and some recommend all kinds of supplements… I just don't know what to think.

Is there anyone knowledgeable out there who can advise me? Should I really be feeding my dog this Royal Canin gastro food? Or continue with the raw? Or offer me a recipe for something wholesome? Or…???

Thanks for reading this, and thanks for any help.

Lisa
 

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either way, you want to feed a diet that is highly digestible, bland (relatively) to not 'excite' the pancreas, low fat, and, preferably, something your pet likes OK. Royal Canin low fat is a very good diet and very widely accepted... though low fat I/D seems to be fairly popular (the most popular of all the diets we sell at our clinic), too. I worked emergency for years and we saw an inordinate number of gastrointestinal problems with dogs on raw diets, so I am not a personal fan of those. What items on the ingredient list of the Royal Canin seem 'bad' to you?

You are giving pepcid now... what time of day? should be later in day (near evening) if the vomiting is in the middle of the night... a very small, bland meal before bedtime often helps these midnight vomiters.
 

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Hi, and thanks for your response. I'm worried about "pork byproduct meal" and "corn" and "corn gluten", as well as a lot of unpronounceables, which might be fine but just aren't whole foods. But I say this as someone without much education in nutrition, so maybe they are fine and I'm just brainwashed to believe if I don't recognize it, it's not good food.

She threw up this morning at 11:00am, about five hours after her last meal, and about four hours after her last dose of pepcid.

Something about this is different from her previous bouts of pancreatitis. Normally when she is having pancreatitis attacks she vomits immediately after she eats, and then doesn't want to eat all again until she feels better, sometimes a few days later.

This time she is throwing up several hours after eating, and seems perfectly happy to eat any time we will give her food. I'm not sure what is going on now, but I'm worried.

We switched her to the Royal Canin, to be on the safe side. I hope it helps…
 

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I personally would try a cooked diet of a low fat meat like ground turkey and a couple of ground steamed veggies. If it works then get in touch with a dog nutritionist to balance the diet.
 

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Hi, and thanks for your response. I'm worried about "pork byproduct meal" and "corn" and "corn gluten", as well as a lot of unpronounceables, which might be fine but just aren't whole foods. But I say this as someone without much education in nutrition, so maybe they are fine and I'm just brainwashed to believe if I don't recognize it, it's not good food.

She threw up this morning at 11:00am, about five hours after her last meal, and about four hours after her last dose of pepcid.

Something about this is different from her previous bouts of pancreatitis. Normally when she is having pancreatitis attacks she vomits immediately after she eats, and then doesn't want to eat all again until she feels better, sometimes a few days later.

This time she is throwing up several hours after eating, and seems perfectly happy to eat any time we will give her food. I'm not sure what is going on now, but I'm worried.

We switched her to the Royal Canin, to be on the safe side. I hope it helps…
Try feeding her smaller quantities of food, more often. Samantha used to throw up hours after eating, and was hungry immediately after. We found, at least in her case, she simply can not handle anything more than small quantities of food, so we now feed her multiple times per day, but much less at any one time. That virtually solved her/our problem.
 

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If still vomiting, would recommend some stronger antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs), such as Cerenia (Maropitant)... very effective and very safe medication, also just once a day.

Why concerns over corn and corn gluten? Gluten sensitivity in dogs is so incredibly rare that it's only been recorded in one breed, one time. Corn itself is one of the more highly digestible carbs and an extremely rare ingredient to be the cause of any kind of digestive allergy or intolerance (despite its oddly weird status as today's 'usual suspect' as the cause of all evils). Can't comment too much on the pork product, though it's probably highly digestible. Pork is not a common cause of digestive ills, either, but don't know much more about it specifically.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I appreciate them all!

I don't know why I think corn is bad for dogs, and same for gluten. I think I may be brainwashed by commercials for Blue Buffalo (which I don't even buy, haha) where they talk about their ingredients all being recognizable and part of a dog's natural diet. Like chicken, egg, carrot, etcetera. I guess that's what I've convinced myself I should be seeing in a dog food ingredient list.

Regardless, we have been trying the Royal Canin for 24 hours now, and so far so good. No vomiting. I gave her a small meal right before bed (thanks for that suggestion) and she made it through the night without vomiting. She also had a less restless sleep than the last few nights. No pacing, no wandering, which she does when she is feeling unwell.

I am hopeful that this more easily digestible food will be what she needs, byproducts and all! :) I am still planning to meet with a dog nutritionist to put my mind at ease, and will certainly switch it up if there's something better for her. But for now, this seems to do the trick. I appreciate the support here.
 

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I'm not telling you to switch to a raw diet, but what you need is easily digestible foods to give the pancreas a break... Raw is the easiest food to digest, and some people don't like to hear that. Raw is digested quickly, the dogs body takes what it needs and it's out the rear end alot faster than kibble. Feeding raw pancreas produces a good supply of the natural digestive enzymes that your dog needs, and raw pancreas is generally very easy to get.

Kibble is one of the big issues here in causes for pancreatitis, most are high in fat, sugar, and carbs - and are highly processed. In order to digest this, the pancreas needs to go on overtime to produce the digestive enzymes required - and over time, you have pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas. Won't even mention insulin.

I urge people that have pets with illness to research the illness itself to find out the causes and likely fixes. Don't just depend on your vets advice.
 

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Can you provide some sources for this @jagger ? I'm interested in the digestibility info.
Google is your friend, too much info, too many links. You will find 2 sides of the argument, negative and positive and keep an open mind. preymodelraw.com has some good information - and feeding raw has turned me off kibble forever. If you want to discuss, start a new thread to get any pros and cons, the main thing with raw feeding is balanced. Hence the mention of gastro issues above.

For example, when Jagger was fed kibble he had big poops for a dog his size and he was being fed the best of the best of kibble. When we switched over to raw, his poop was small pellets, and not much of it - they literally dried up and blew away in a couple of days.

Now we feed mostly cooked to see if there's a difference - and there is - his poops are big again, but nothing like on kibble. There is alot in kibble that isn't being digested.

And to treat a dog with the same food that likely caused the issue in the first place...
 

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My dogs have eaten raw food most of their lives, so I have always been a believer that raw was better. However, I have never had a vet who approved. :)

The vet told me that raw was NOT good for pancreatitis. I found the same thing mentioned above when I researched online, arguments both in favour of raw and against it for dogs with pancreatitis. I didn't know what to do, but the vomiting was a real worry.

I did try the switch to Royal Canin canned low fat food because she was vomiting while on raw food. The vomiting stopped.

I don't see this as concrete evidence of anything, but since it's working right now, I can't see a good reason to switch back.

We are, however, going to see a veterinary nutritionist in a week and a half to talk about this, and I am hoping to get some clarity on this issue.
 
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