Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Feeding a dog with renal problems

Three different doggy meals, all destined for the bin.

Missy has been doing pretty well up to today, she's been taking up a lot of my time cooking and feeding her but I really don't mind that. She was even starting to feel a little heavier when I lift her onto the bed (bless her, she still hasn't got the hang of using the useless pouffe).

Initially we got two different types of renal food from the vet. From day one, she wouldn't eat the wet pouch type food but for three days, she could be persuaded to eat the dried version, provided I rolled it around a bit in a few slices of cooked chicken.

Chicken is too high in protein to be fed on its own to a dog with renal problems so we were really pleased to be getting quite a bit of the dried food into her. With it being so low in protein, it doesn't overload her kidneys.

On day four, she won't eat the dried renal food. I tried rolling it in scrambled eggs, pressing slivers of cheese into it, wetting it with water, wetting it with chicken stock, covering it in gravy. Nothing worked, except she would still eat the chicken - but only its own. Finally I scrabbled around in the cupboard to find the lowest protein pouch food I could find. When her appetite first started getting iffy, we bought loads of different brands to try to get her to eat. I am not exaggerating when I say my cupboards have more dog food in them than human foods, they're even spilling out onto the work surfaces. There is no food we won't buy if we think she would eat it.

Encore in jelly food is relatively low in protein, quite a high percentage is just moisture from the jelly and mixing the dried renal food in that worked quite nicely.

On day five she wouldn't eat Encore in jelly or the dried renal food. I turned to the internet for low protein dog food recipes and found this homemade one which is cooked mince, hard boiled eggs, cooked rice and breadcrumbs, the recipe recommends a chemical to be added to it too, I didn't have it so I missed that off. I remember when Guinness was ill with kidney and liver problems, our vet told me all of these foods were fine for dogs with renal failure to have. So I cooked a big batch up with high hopes and Missy loved it, she was even making her cute little equivalent of "nom nom" noises which she used to do when eating her favourite foods. I was so glad.

The next day, she had it again but then, nope, don't want that any more. Encore in jelly came to the rescue again when I mixed the home made food half and half. For a couple more days all was well but today nothing is working.

This morning I have made up my own recipe of mashed potatoes with a small quantity of cheese grated into it and then mixed it with canned tuna. This is the type of food she would've thought was brilliant before she got ill, she had a mouthful or two and now she just resolutely turns her head away when I try to give it to her.

She wouldn't even eat chicken. I tried cooking some fresh to see if the smell of would get her appetite going and it did but but that is all she has had today (some this morning and another freshly cooked one this evening) along with a couple of dried venison treat sticks, these are both high protein foods and so neither are good for her kidneys.

I was daring to hope we could stabilise her with a low protein diet and she would be OK but on days like today, when all she wants to eat is protein, I feel very close to losing her. She's next to me now on the sofa, her head on my lap. I stroke her side trying to imbue my hands with healing powers, bathing her kidneys in rejuvenating light. Please be well, Missy.


Since writing the above, I have looked at many, many different low protein home cooked diets on-line. What most have in common is to dilute the amount of protein (meat) with other items such as grains, pasta, vegetables, eggs and small amounts of liver and kidney.

With Missy I have had success by varying the recipe I linked to above by replacing beef mince with pork mince, including 2-3 oz of cooked liver and substituting cooked macaroni for the rice.

I have acquired some calcium carbonate which some recipes recommend, however I wanted to ask the vet about it so I waited til we went to see her on 2 March. She said Missy's blood work showed her calcium levels were fine and she would get calcium from the meat in the home made recipe. Adding more calcium risked bladder stones so she wouldn't recommend its inclusion; I'm glad I went with my instincts on that one and omitted it.

Link to Feeding a dog with renal problems - part 2

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Rare lampwork rainbow spankle set

It's quite rare for me to have a set of rainbow spankle beads available in my Etsy shop as I don't always have all the colours in stock. I just listed them for sale so if you want them, better grab them quick, they usually go pretty quick when I do!

Better news on Missy, our dog. Following diagnosis and her new tablet, her appetite and energy levels are much improved. She still likes to spend alot of time on her bed by the radiator but I think that's also because the weather is so cold. She's always been a fair weather dog so I think when the temperature improves, she will be out on her garden cushion again keeping me company when I'm making beads in my shed!

She's been with me this afternoon whilst I was sowing seeds in the greenhouse for a couple of hours. The sun was warming us up through the glass and bubble wrap insulation. The weather was so bad on Sunday here (sleety rain all morning, cloudy coldness in the afternoon), I did some work so I could play hooky on a day when the weather was nicer and today was the day! All the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are sown as well as some annual bedding plants. My propagator is full, lots of others waiting to be sown as and when they germinate. Missy and I are really looking forward to the Spring gettting going properly. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Diagnosis and treatment

We have a plan for Missy's treatment with the vet. Her kidneys aren't working as they should, they aren't processing protein very well. She's going onto a heart tablet which will increase the blood flow to the kidneys to help them be more efficient. Hopefully that will improve her appetite. She's also going onto a special diet food (if we can get her to eat it) to ease the load on her kidneys.

She's coming off the propalin syrup which she has been taking since the summer for occasional incontinence. The increased blood flow will help with that too but if it doesn't, it's easily managed with protective bedding and lots of washing machine action. I don't mind that in the slightest.

We lost our previous dog, Guinness, to kidney disease. After diagnosis, we had him with us for another five months with a reasonable quality of life. Treatments and diets are better now than they were in Guinness's day. There is another urine test we could do to tell us how advanced the disease is but with her present symptoms, that wouldn't affect her treatment so we've decided we'd rather not know.

Those are the practicalities, MTM will pick up the tablets and new food today. I can write this in a matter of fact manner but underneath, everyone who has ever loved and lost a much loved pet will know exactly how we are feeling right now.

She has good days and we will be making the most of them with her for as long as we can.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The useless pouffe

Missy, our little Manchester Terrier is getting on a bit now. She's a grand old lady of eleven and a half, that's close to 80 in doggy years. In the last few months she's found it harder to jump up onto the sofa as she used to. Her "spring" has gone a bit. She hasn't been able to get into the car unaided for some time, so we've been lifting her up onto the seat whenever we have to go anywhere.

To avoid her hurting herself by falling back down when her jump up goes a bit wrong in the house we bought this pouffe and placed it inbetween the chair where she quite often settles down when she's on her own and the sofa where she joins me if I'm in the lounge. We've shown her how to get up onto it encouraging her up and down it with treats. Does she use it?  Of course not!

Even though we've shown her the way, she still struggles up on her own, if I notice her about to jump, I lift her up onto the pouffe by way of further encouragement but she still isn't getting it, bless her.

At the same time as we got the useless pouffe, we realised she was also struggling with getting back up onto the last step down onto the grass, it's a little higher than the ones further up so we bought a non-slip outdoor ramp (which can also be used for the car - it folds up). Does she use it? Of course not!

We've got this lovely safe, stable, smart black ramp especially designed to make it easy for her. Again with the training and treats ... but she was still bewildered and struggling. So alongside the ramp, we've piled up these tatty old paving and coping stones which were waiting for us to hire a skip to thrown them out. Does she use it? Of course she does!

The last couple of weeks her health has been declining in other more worrying ways. When she had her jabs last year the vet detected a slight heart murmur. It wasn't necesarry to treat it as she wasn't symptomatic. But lately, her appetite has been very hit and miss, last week she was vomiting and she wasn't keen to go out on her walks. The most alarming day was Wednesday when she coughed up some blood.

The vet has taken some blood and sent it off for testing, yesterday we took a sample of urine in. We should have all the results back on Monday.

In the meantime, the pouffe is being used as a footstool and we're hoping whatever is wrong is something that's easily fixable perhaps with tablets. Would anyone reading this please send positive thoughts and prayers for Missy to have a happy outcome. We don't want to lose her just yet.